A blessed Christmas

By: Madrileña de la Cerna December 22,2018 - 08:57 PM


The world is a better place because there is always someone out there helping others. Someone is always trying to make this world a better place to live. The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. It’s the season to be grateful and this Christmas I have so much to be thankful for because many things happened in my life and journey this year 2018.

The early part of the year was the discovery of a small lump in my left breast which I didn’t give full attention since I was busy activating the UP Alumni Association Cebu Chapter board with the preparations for the Centennial of UP Cebu College with its celebration targeted on May 3, 2018, the founding date of the college (which was then called Junior College).

As the second quarter slowly came, I discovered the lump has grown big and hard and urgently needed medical attention. A lumpectomy was done on June 9 which was after the May 3 celebration of the Centennial. The biopsy showed I had Stage 11 A breast cancer. A friend advised me to get a good breast doctor which I did ( I went to 2 good breast doctors). They had similar explanations of the results of the lumpectomy and procedures of the treatment to undergo one of which was a mastectomy. I didn’t hesitate to let go of my left breast because it is for the better.

Meantime I was slowly informing friends and former students about my condition and out of the blue a former student in UP High School class ’91, Marc Denver Yray, a surgical oncologist offered to do the operation with his wife as the anaesthesiologist. The operation was done on August 22 (not sooner) because I still had some commitments until August 15. It was such a memorable experience to have former students, medical practitioners with their staff facilitating from the paper work to the room accommodation and post-operation in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center. Friends and former students visited and attended to me before and after the operation and even when I went home after my three-day stay at the hospital. Meantime financial assistance kept trickling in from here and abroad.

Then the decision on the treatment came after listening to more doctors, reading some relevant literature and hearing about the experiences of friends and acquaintances.

Chemotherapy and Target Drug Therapy. Ever since the beginning I was never in favor of chemotherapy which is being presented as the next treatment. I have decided not to undergo chemotherapy for two reasons. First I am on dialysis (it’s my 9th year this year) and my nephrologist said that if I undergo chemotherapy there will be many adjustments to the dosage of my dialysis while if I have target drug therapy there will be no adjustments at all. Second the biopsy report on my mastectomy showed that my 22 lymph nodes are negative of metastasis.

With target drug therapy, my oncologist enrolled me in the Roche Patient Support Programme in the program that grants me a 40% discount of the drug to be administered for 18 cycles, with each cycle every 3 weeks. Each cycle is 1 vial / 600 mg. The drug is very expensive but the financial assistance came in droves from everywhere, some individually while others came by batch or class and others still personally given. A member of UP High Class ’79 sponsored the first 3 cycles. Two members of Class’84 sponsored 1 cycle each. A member of the class would inform their batchmates and the communication is relayed. Sometimes donations of two or three alumni from different batch would make up the amount for 1 cycle. UP High Class ’92 created a GoFundme, an online fundraiser, through Dr. Jerald Mark Garcia. The UP Cebu Retirees Group has put up a donation for 1 cycle. My college classmates have pitched in their assistance, concern, prayers.

All these assistance, show of concern, prayers and other forms of support are amazing and overwhelming. They are blessings I have enjoyed and am grateful for this Christmas.

For these I would like to express my thanks through the following.

Thanks to those who hated me,
You made me stronger.
Thanks to those that loved me,
You made my heart go fonder.
Thanks to those who cared,
You made me feel important.
Thanks to those who entered my life,
You made me feel who I am today.
Thanks to those that left,
You showed me that nothing lasts forever.
Thanks to those who stayed,
You showed me true friendship.
Thanks to those who listened,
You made me feel like I was worth itdela cerna

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