Monday, October 13, 2008

Resources - Groups that can help cancer survivor Part 2

More groups that can help cancer survivor:

Patient Advocate Foundation
Toll free: 1.800.532.5274

Patient Advocate Foundation can work with you to settle insurance, employment and debt matters resulting from your diagnosis. A case manager will work together with you, your doctor and/or your employer to help with these issues.

Sister Network, Inc.
Toll free: 1.866.781.1808

Sister Network provides individual and group support, education, advocacy and research for the African-American woman's fight against breast cancer.

Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network
Toll free: 1.800.808.7866

Us TOO International provides men and their families with fellowship, peer counseling and timely, personalized, unbiased and reliable information about prostate cancer. They also offer community awareness volunteer training for minority and undeserved populations.

Monday, September 29, 2008

MY CANCER – MY BLESSING by Marissa Nerida

I am certain many people would say I am insane for believing that my cancer is my blessing. As you go along reading my story, given the facts and circumstances, I have no doubt you will realize I am correct and sincere in saying that, indeed, my ailment is a big blessing. First, allow me to introduce your new friend: Loved ones fondly call me Mommy or Tita Marissa. To date, I am 55 years old, married to a great man, Danny Nerida. We are blessed with four beautiful children and five gorgeous grandchildren. A good education, solid family background, fame, success, and fortune are not a pass from getting the so-called Big C. People make mistakes, big or small, intentional or unintentional. I am no different from others. At the height of my business career, making so much money, earning respect from business and social circles, gaining popularity, and becoming quite successful, I made a very big mistake that caused my downfall. Worse, I landed at the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW), serving a sentence of up to 13 years. At that point, I thought that was my end. My mind and heart could not accept…Marissa, a high school scholar in the United States of America, a professional, part of a respectable and well-known family…ending up in jail? I was mad, full of hatred and bitterness. I blamed every Juan de la Cruz I knew, and worst, I blamed God. Accepting my fate was not easy – not easy at all. Tears, anger, bitterness and hatred made the situation even more difficult. One day, I was surprised to be visited by my kumpadre Carlito Villaluz, a co-employee of my husband at Meralco and the godfather of our eldest son. An active member and elder of the Workers of Christ (WOC), a Catholic charismatic community, Carlito and his group would often visit me at CIW. I must admit, WOC exerted so much time and effort in bringing me back to God. They did very well. I started going to the chapel, to pray and even to attend Sunday Masses. I started believing and trusting Him again. Little by little, I learned to accept the realities of my life. True to their words, I was happier and felt good despite my present predicament. I thought my incarceration was the worst trial, but that was not the end of it. I was wrong. In fact, very wrong. On my third year at CIW, I was diagnosed to have ovarian cancer at stage IV by a medical mission team of St. Lukes Medical Center. Learning this while I was all alone, except for my two custodial escorts, brought me down to my knees. I did not have my family with me. I thought I was going to die. The anger and bitterness ate me up again. As soon as I got back to the Institution from the hospital, I went directly to the chapel. I questioned God. Still very clear in my mind, I recall telling God, “You already brought me to jail, and now you are giving me a very dreadful and incurable disease! I thought You are an understanding and forgiving God.” This circumstance made me stop all my religious activities. I was mad at God! It’s a good thing WOC people did not stop visiting me. They brought me Cesar Liza, one of their most respected leaders. He explained many things to me. Understandably, at first, I ignored him. But, as a good Christian, he never gave up on me. A few months later, his effort paid off. I again started to face the realities of life. I learned to accept my fate without anger or bitterness. In short, I totally surrendered to the Will of God. From that day on, I felt lighter, happier, and experienced total peace of mind and heart. One morning, I woke up praying and talking to God. I prayed, “Thank you Lord for giving me time to cleanse myself and more time to prepare and be with my family, before you finally call me into Your kingdom.” What if I did not have cancer and I had an unprepared death? Where would I end up? What if I died a sudden death? Where would my soul be? With my cancer, I was blessed with time. Total surrender to God brought me many other unbelievable blessings. After less than four years of incarceration (I should have been in jail for a minimum of eight years to begin with), I was granted a presidential pardon and was released from CIW on January 15, 2001. After having two cycles of chemotherapy while inside the Institution, I was able to finish my six remaining cycles in the care of my family. Before my chemotherapy even started, my oncologist informed my family and me that I had just a year, or at most, two, to survive. Of course, doctors are not God. To date, I have survived my cancer and that’s a concrete example of a miracle. Early this year, my ovarian cancer had spread to my spinal column and I was diagnosed to have inoperable bone metastasis. Thus, I have been strongly advised to undergo another eight cycles of chemo, not as a cure, but as a procedure to improve the quality of my remaining days. One big blessing God has granted me lately is bringing me to Carewell – the Cancer Resource and Wellness Community. The community makes me so happy. It makes me feel I belong to a big family that offers so much concern, care, attention and love. Funny but absolutely true: being part of Carewell makes me forget I am sick. I am happier, livelier, and more active. With Carewell, there is no room for boredom, for sadness, or even depression. The staff always has a solution to all our problems and needs. Needless to say, Carewell, as a whole, is the exact answer to what a cancer victim/survivor needs to live a little longer, be happier, have peace of mind, and to top it all, to be prepared emotionally and spiritually. Now, I can go anytime. I no longer fear death! Thy will be done! For making the remaining days of my life more meaningful, fruitful, and beautiful, please accept my heartfelt thanks to you: Bobbit, Tita Dely, Ate Billie, Tita Eva, Abelle, Yel, Dra. Cherry, Jane, other staff and volunteers. Many thanks, too, to my gorgeous “classmates:” Marisa, Mae, Raquel, Linda, and Sylvia. I am truly blessed to have ALL of you. God has really been good to me all these years. Thank you Lord and thank you, too, to my beautiful family: Carewell.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Resources - Groups that can help cancer survivor

Here are some groups that can help cancer survivor with their physical and emotional needs. They can also help with the day to day issues such as insurance and money matters.

American Pain Foundation
Toll free: 1.888.615.7246

The American Pain Foundation (AFP) provides information and education about pain and pain management through free publications, a website an online pain community, emails and toll free calls. AFP supports research and advocacy, bringing the voices of people with pain to healthcare providers and government agencies.

LiveStrong Survivor Care
Toll free: 1.888.235.7205

LiveStrong Survivor Care will provide you with information, education, counselling services and referrals to other resources. You can also speak with a professional oncology social worker.

National Cancer Institute - Cancer Information Service
Toll free: 1.800.4.CANCER (1.800.422.6237)

You can speak with caring staff who can explain medical information in easy to understand terms. They answer calls in English and Spanish

More groups on my next postings...

Monday, September 15, 2008

A New Life... After Cancer Treatment

Panibagong buhay.. na naman!

By Rolyn G. Sarmiento

Have I been too preoccupied with the things in this world that I became so complacent with almost everything? Did I completely forget the blessings that led me to where I am now? Not long ago, I begged the Lord for mercy, to spare my life and restore my health. When He gave that all to me, it made me think that I was somewhat invincible. But then the Lord had to tell me that I was wrong. That He was God, and He made me realize that I was nothing without Him. . When you are stricken with cancer, you are reminded of your mortality. You grieve, you bargain, you do all the possible things in your power to reverse your condition. I was scared to death when I was first diagnosed at age 18.. It was even frightening when the scans, the blood works and the palpable signs indicate the recurrence at 37…

I prayed fervently. Once again I begged the Lord for mercy… He did not disappoint me. I was referred by my internist to a Radiation Oncologist last April 2008. Surgery was also an option but I chose radiation. Immediately, CT planning was done. I had 33 radiation sessions. Two weeks after, there was a residual on the right side of my neck. So I had three more radiation treatments. During the entire session, my throat hurts…It was very difficult to swallow. I developed ulcers in my mouth and throat because it was near the target areas of radiation. I can’t eat anything. It was so painful that even liquids, I can’t tolerate…Di nyo alam kung gaano ako kasabik sa pagkain! I was so tired and depressed. I almost gave up… my husband Nilo was always there for me. My parents and my children were my sources of strength. My sister, Kitte comforted me even if we were miles away from each other. My friends and relatives stormed the heavens with prayers. Ang bait ng Diyos! Online, I received words of support and encouragement. The Lord gave all that I needed… and more. I received the last dose of radiation June 4, 2008. A month after the treatment, the cancer marker in my blood dropped….. I know in my heart that the Lord was healing me slowly, but surely …I was giddy with the surge of blessings. All the tests and treatments done to me yielded favorable results. I was back!

I know that having Cancer does not put anyone near the grave. I could have died just being hit by a car or even in my sleep. I know, the Lord has bigger plans for me. I’ll never get tired of sharing this miracle. The Lord is always faithful to His promises… I plan to stay a little longer, In Jesus name! lahat ng nagdasal at patuloy na nagdarasal para sa akin, maraming salamat… alam kong higit pa ang pagdurusa at paghihirap ng iba …

Monday, July 14, 2008

Living After Cancer Treatment

Finishing treatment can be both exciting and scary. Many survivors want to focus on returning back to normal. As a cancer survivor, taking charge of your health and preparing for life after cancer treatment can help make the transition easier. You have the right to take an active role in your future by reaching out to others or asking the questions you have.