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Friday, July 16, 2010

All's well that ends well

I have said more than once that the only reason I keep a blog is to keep my memoirs for the succeeding generations of my family. As I am not a rich man who can leave huge estates to my children, I only have my memories, my thoughts as a legacy for them to know how I lived and how I reacted to things around me hoping it could serve as a guide for them.

That being said, let me narrate the events that happened to me and my wife awhile back. Most of my friends knew about this especially my good friend,
Doc Emer and my nephew, Dr. Manny Glorioso with whom I was in constant communication through the entire ordeal I suffered while this was happening.

Let me narrate it from the very beginning. On May 16, Sunday, my wife was complaining about her tummy, thinking she may have been suffering from diarrhea and/or indigestion. That was a day prior to her one week stay in Batangas for work. She thought she was feeling better the following day, so she went ahead with her assignment and bag in tow, left in the early morning of May 17. Everything was fine until I received a text message from her that Thursday morning that she was not feeling well and was taken to a Tagaytay hospital. There, they ran a few tests and these yielded that she was suffering from LBM and nothing more.

Come Friday, she was still not feeling well. Things got really bad that on May 25, she was accompanied by her sister to St. Luke’s at the Fort to have her examined. She was advised to be confined but since St. Luke’s was fairly new, they could not accept HMO holders. It was then that they decided to go to Medical City. We stayed there for a while thinking she would be out in only a few days. However, the stomach cramps kept on pestering her especially during the wee hours of the morning. It was then that her attending physician decided that she underwent an ultra sound of her abdomen. She did and the result was that she had gall stones and needed to undergo an operation.

She had her operation on the night of May 31st. Thinking that it would be a normal, perfunctory procedure, I went home after seeing her on her way to the operating room, gave her a kiss and left her with my eldest sister who was kind enough to be with her during her confinement as I had to report for work. That night, I was constantly texting my sister to ask how my wife was. Nothing. Until I received a call from her at midnight. She told me that the surgeon requested for her to come down the OR as he had something very important to tell her. Shakily, (who wouldn’t be afraid having to face a surgeon who called for you in the middle of the night to reveal something very important to you?) she went not expecting anything at all. She narrated that the doctor told her that the operation went well and that he had extracted the whole gall bladder off my wife. However, he discovered that there were plenty of fluid in her stomach which could only mean two things: tuberculosis or cancer. As part of the protocol, he probed into my wife’s organs, tried to fill for mass in each one and found nothing. To be sure, he also asked his assistant to do the same for a second opinion. Nothing. So, they closed her up, took out a sample of the fluid for testing.

That morning, I immediately called my nephew who is an oncologist based in Zamboanga. He told me what to expect and asked if they can run a few tests, notably a CA 125, a tumor marker. The good thing about it is that the attending physician, Dr. John Querol, was also an oncologist and luckily, a friend of my nephew. He was the one who took care of my sister, my nephew’s mother, while she was alive. My nephew called him and they conferred and my nephew said he was told that the amount of liquid was minimal (contrary to the surgeon’s claim at this point).

They ran a CA 125 test and my nephew said that if the reading would be more than 80, she may have a tumor in her ovaries. It is needless to say that I was praying hard that the result would be negative. I did not go to work anymore at this time and stayed with my wife hoping and praying that the results would be known in the morning. When the doctor came, I asked for the results and he said it was quite high. I accompanied him on his way out and pressed him to give me the numbers and he said it was 199! My world crumbled as my heart shrunk and pounded but I kept my composure. I immediately texted the information to my nephew and Doc Emer who were continually checking my wife’s condition. Unfortunately, Dr. Querol was already out of the country attending a congress in the US. I could not tell anyone of what I knew at this time as I did not think I have something conclusive. Both my nephew and my friend said that the problem with CA 125 is that it is none specific or something (I forgot the term they used). I could not tell my wife, my sister or any member of her family and most definitely not the children. I felt so alone. Visions of me and my wife getting old together inside a farm house which we could have bought ran through my head. I have always told my wife that part of my dream was to buy a farm in Tagaytay where the weather was to my liking and retire there. I have also thought all these time that I shall go earlier than my wife with my diabetes and all. I never thought that we would be having a problem like this. It was at this point that an OB – Gyne was called and was told that her ovaries were fine. However, it was far from over as my nephew said the ovaries can be tricky.

On Sunday, I texted our friends about my wife’s condition and requested them to come visit her as she was getting lonely. I feared that all these things could make her feel depressed and that was the last thing I wanted to happen. My friends were surprised to find out that we were still in the hospital and immediately were on their way.

That night, she was taken to the CT Scan machine and the following morning was told that the walls between her abdomen and intestine were thickening. This time, a gastro specialist, Dr. Flores, came and told us the details of the results of her CT scan. She had gastro-enteritis and was given two types of anti-biotics. She also suggested that she undergo ultra sound endoscopy. However, since the hospital did not have the machine to do that, she said she will refer us to St. Luke’s in Quezon City.

It was at this time that Doc Emer emailed me in my facebook account of an article in a medical journal about the CA 125. Basically it says that ascitis (fluid in the body) can make the reading of CA 125 go haywire. Now, I had something to hold on to. It was such a relief to find out that the doctors had ordered a repeat of the CA 125 as her tummy's fluid has gone down. God must have listened to my prevent prayers as this time the reading was 31. It was only then that I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. Until now, we do not know what caused the ascitis. It could have been due to the inflammation as a result of the gall stones. Who knows? What we know is that it neither contained microbes nor cancer cells.

My wife was discharged with a little tube connected on her to drain the fluid out on July 7. From then on, we would visit the doctors for check up and everything seems to be good. This morning, we finally went to St. Luke’s for her endoscopy and was told that everything seems to be normal! What a relief!!!!!

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Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
Posted by Hello
Location: Bambang, Pasig City, Philippines

Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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