Friday, August 3, 2012

PROVEN LOVE

 I just found this essay my wife wrote for completion online. I've never read it till today
 One of the last things she wrote.
     
                                                           PROVEN LOVE


I was nervous and excited as we went for our court wedding. I have just turned 21 six days earlier and now I am going to be a wife. We said our vows and then the chaplain announced us as husband and wife. I remember those age old lines “in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” I just never knew at that time how true it would become.

I met my husband in 2002. Love is such a beautiful thing. We started off as friends and started dating a year later. We got married on August 25th 2004. At that time I just knew he was the one. My family did not agree with that but eventually they came around. He was a caring person, he would do anything for me and he was always there when I needed him.

Getting married was different. You actually get to live with the person and certain things tend to come out. You can easily get on each other’s nerves and arguments can get ugly. We weathered it all. The “C” word- it scares a lot of people. It definitely scared me. I would have to make some major changes and that was a scary thing for me.  I cried my eyes out. My husband was there to comfort me. He was just as shocked as I was. I had to let my parents know and that was not easy. My Mom cried all night and that just broke my heart. I did not mean to worry her. Every time I had to break the news to family members and friends I had this huge lump in my throat and I am trying so hard to hold back my tears. There was no way I am going break down in front of them. I had to be strong- or so I thought.

In 2007 at the age of twenty four I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) which is a type of breast cancer. It was malignant and I was a stage II. I will never forget the day that I was told that I had cancer. It felt like my world came crumbling down around me. In my mind I was screaming “this can’t be happening! I am too young for this.” The sympathetic doctor spoke comforting words and one thing he said was that many marriages break down during the course of the disease. He advised my husband that he needs to support me in any way he can and that advise my husband took.



Since this cancer was known to be aggressive, I was scheduled for surgery the following Friday. They performed a lumpectomy on my left breast which left my breast half the size that it used to be. I cannot tell you the amount of pain I had. Thank God for those pumps that I just pressed when I need a dose of painkillers. This was my first major surgery and all this was new to me. My nurse was just a sweetheart which was great. Being in a hospital gown was such an uncomfortable feeling. I felt exposed and my nurse made a joke out of it and it took the edge off but I could not wait to get back home.

Upon my return from the hospital, I had new medications and I had to empty out this grenade looking gadget that collected all the fluid from the surgery site. My husband stepped up to the plate. He helped me empty my little grenade and recorded all the fluid output. He helped me when I needed to get around, cooked my meals and he even arranged pillows all around me so that I am comfortable. I have never seen this side of him.

I started chemotherapy and then went on to radiation. My husband was always there. Some of my medications were affecting my mood thus the bad attitude. My good husband put up with it all. I was a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute I am happy and the next I am crying and depressed. It is a wonder he did not run off.  He was there for me when my hair was falling off and all I could do was cry over my hair. He gave me time and finally I worked up the courage to shave all my hair off. He always told me I looked beautiful with or without my hair. I asked him a few days ago if he was okay with me being bald again for the third time, he looked at me and said he never had a problem with it. I know this man loves me more than he loves himself.

It has been four years since I was first diagnosed and the cancer returned on July 10th 2010. This time it is IDC breast cancer stage IV (4) and sarcoma which a muscle cancer. In addition to that I have limited vision on my right eye due to a tumor. I cried my eyes out again at the ER when it was confirmed. Since then I have added five other medical conditions under my belt- anemia, diabetes insipidus and Le Fraumeni Syndrome to name a few. Through all this my husband has stuck by my side. Giving me hugs and just holding me assuring me that it was going to alright. As he always tells me that we can make it because we have God on our side. Our faith in God has kept us together and kept us going.

We have had so many ups and downs we could write a book about it. I love my husband more each day. He has given so much for me and I greatly appreciate all he has done for me. I am a blessed woman and I do not take all this for granted. I am so grateful for all I have and all the money in the world cannot buy that. I do not doubt for a second that I married the right man and I would not trade him for the world. We were laughing about a joke he made and he tells me “Babe through sickness and in health and till do us apart” He remembers his vows and he is working on keeping it!

On a beautiful warm Saturday on May 14th 2011 we renewed our vows among family and friends. It was such a beautiful and emotional ceremony. I could not stop the tears from streaming down my face as we repeated our vows and I remembered how we struggled, how we cried together and how my husband was always there for me in the worst and best of times. Four years of dealing with cancer is tough and I am still going through treatments. We have had a lot of bad news lately and a few good ones but we are still here by God’s grace. Seven years ago I said those vows but did not know how true it would become. This man, my husband has proven himself. He has kept his vows to God and to me. Through all this he has taught and shown me true love. I thank God for blessing me with a great husband, my confidant and my best friend.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Making Progress & Discovering New Things. Thank you Jesus!

It has been a while and so nice to be back. Since my last blog I have made a discovery with the help of a couple of people:o). Just something to aid with my treatment and recovery. Alternative medicine. I have only heard about it and just recently gotten a book from a church member who was looking into it. Very interesting stuff but it made sense. So my husband who is very supportive of it is helping me out with it. The more research I do, the more it made sense. A lot of information is available on the web.

I am doing this in addition to my treatment. I have a weak immune system like most cancer patients because of the chemotherapy and this does not help me fight off the colds and those nasty sickness. So it talks about eating the right kind of foods to strengthen your immune system and avoiding some foods that will feed the cancer.

Things to avoid: Refined sugar, refined flours, oils, most dairy products, aspartame (sugar substitute and used in a lot of diet sodas) to name a few.
Things to eat: Greens (kale, broccoli) Berries (antioxidants), Tumeric, etc

I prefer to keep my oncologist and NP in the loop so that whatever natural remedies I am trying does not counteract with my current medications. So far they have agreed that it is okay with me to take Essaic tea or ojibwa tea. It has some anti-cancer properties, taken like any other tea once a day. I actually like the taste:o)

Another thing that I am taking is a mixture of organic cottage cheese, flax seed oil and ground flax seed, also taken once a day. I went to a store in North SJ called Bee Hive and got a banana & strawberry flavored flaxseed oil:o) tasted like smoothie I could just drink it like that haha!. You should check it out especially if you know someone who is sick. The lady there, her name is Lydia. She has a lot of information on supplements for cancer patients. They are very knowledgeable on a lot natural remedies. Here is their website:
http://www.beehivehealth.com

I have only been doing this for a few days and I feel a difference in my energy level. The funny thing is when I take my medications from the hospital I feel nauseous, when I am on the natural stuff I feel fine. I don't have the pain and aches. I do want to stop taking all this medications but it is a process. I do understand that this is a lifestyle change. It is just not to recover and go back to old habits. It was kinda hard for me to stomach that haha! I love my island food :o) Only in a very small moderation- very small unfortunately:oP

We were also looking into juicing. Heard a lot of good things about it. Found a good and cheap deal on craigslist for a juicer. Hubby started last night and I had a taste test. He made orange and carrot juice- it was good. He made my first one this morning. Oranges, apples and carrots. DELISH! I got some recipes online for the green juice (veges).


All done!! :o)




Essaic tea or Ojibwa tea taken once a day. It also comes in capsules.

I figured if I want to get well I also need to help myself and I am glad that I was given this information:o)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Update for the Family & Friends

It has been a stressful past few months but we are holding on in there. Where would we be without God? Thank you Jesus for being with us through all this.

The last time I was on a hormonal treatment with Herceptin. My situation turned from bad to worse very quickly. I was first initially diagnosed with breast cancer and sarcoma (muscle cancer) back in September of 2010. So I had chemo and surgery to deal with that. Somehow sarcoma seemed to have fallen through the cracks. The doctors thought they had gotten rid of the sarcoma, how wrong they were.

So all my treatment was geared towards breast cancer. All my meds were aimed at killing off the breast cancer but the sarcoma cells were still in my lungs. They had also biopsied my lung during my initial surgery and it was breast cancer thus the doctors thought that the sarcoma was gone. So my scans in May 2011 showed only 2 nodes, by the time I did my scan in July 2011 the nodes were inumerable. They could not could count it. I was experiencing breathing problems because these nodes were starting to press against my airway. They did another biopsy and this time it was positive for sarcome. My surgery site was starting to hurt again, the scans confirmed that the sarcoma was back and it was growing again.

So we are on a new treatment plan. Aggresive and I am already seeing results. THANK YOU JESUS!! They have put me on Adrimycin and Cytoxin. I have already lost my hair. Hubby helped cut off the remaining ones that were too stubborn to fall off. My breathing has improved. I do not need the oxygen as much as before. Still need a little help with walking but improving. My blood count has been low for a few months, it has improved so things are looking up. To top it off was when I had a negative report of a tumor on my pituitary gland. GOD IS GOOD. HE IS WORKING THINGS OUT IN HIS TIME.

I am thankful for the help and the support of my family and church family. Especially my Mom and Dad. Love you Mommy and Pa.

Life is Precious

GOD IS GOOD! It has been a while since I have blogged. You guessed it. It has been busy with doctors appointments, stress, emotional rollercoaster but still I am here:o). For that I am grateful to God for giving me the strength and for the breathe of life. If you have not realized it yet, the greatest gift is to be alive. Once you you lose that you are just a shell of yourself. This past few months has been a little harder to deal with.

Dealing with a loss of a friend or loved one is not exactly my area of expertise. It raises a lot of questions. Am I ready when my time comes? Of course I believe in heaven and I want to go there. I know I am far from being that perfect person that qualifies but my prayer is that I become a better person than I was yesterday. Makes me realize that you cannot live your life with your head in the clouds hoping that tragedy, loss and other unforeseen situations only happen to other people.

LIFE IS TOO SHORT. I have heard said many times, everyday you live brings you closer to your day. Like it or not it is the truth. But here is my point. Forgive if you have a grudge. Fix relationships and do right. We do not live forever where we can put off things like forgiveness. Regret is an ugly feeling. I have had regrets and I am trying to improve things in my life. Things like taking time just to chat to that friend. I had come back home and I was so exhausted and tired and I got a call from a friend. I decided to ignore that call and call back later because I just wanted to sleep. Never got to have that call later and never got to talk to him before he passed away. I regret that and I wish I would have just taken that time to talk. Something I do regret. May you rest in peace Jone Lali.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Knowledge is Power: My Race & Cancer

I have been meaning to write this for a while so here we go. I never dreamt that I would be going through this in my 20s. Going through this I have heard numerous stories of Fijians who are either battling cancer, some have won the battle (props to you!) and unfortunately some have succumb to it. I think I was more unprepared when I had it because as a child growing up back home I was never around anyone who had it. The people who passed away that I knew was either because of old age and something else other than cancer. I really did not know what to expect and how to deal with it. I think we need to be more aware and educated about it for our own benefit.

I can remember back then the mentality I had. I was young and healthy, there was no way I could have cancer. I can say now that was naive and ignorant on my part.

There's numerous types of cancer. Go here if you want to read up on it: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/alphalist
What is cancer?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancer

So come to find out I had history in my family of cancer in my family. More recently my Mom's younger sister passed away last August  (on my birthday:o( ) of leukemia which is cancer of the blood.

Knowledge is power

If you know there's history in your family don't sit back and hope that it will not happen to you. If its in your family, you have a 50% chance. Get the appropriate testings done. It is always good to be ahead of the game.

Ladies if you are 40 and over, start getting those mammograms underway. Read more about it here: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/detection/mammograms
For women under 40 its still a battle for the insurance to cover but I have heard of cases where they covered it because the patient had family history of cancer.

They also have genetic testing that you could do specifically to find out if you have the breast cancer gene. Read about it here: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA

You need to be pro-active for yourself. They have studies showing environmental factors that bring about cancers. So you don't only have to have family history to have cancer. Just catching things early always makes a big difference in treatment and your survival.

Here's my story:
Late October 2007 I discovered a lump, my sister set me up for an appointment where I got the biopsy. I was 24 when I was first diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. The type of cancer was Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). It was malignant.  The lump measured about 5cm across. I had a lumpectomy to remove the lump. They also checked my lymph nodes and it was all clear. Started with chemo therapy 2 weeks later and started radiation a few months into chemotherapy. It was such a tough time for us but we made it by the grace of God. I am glad it did break us back then. Let me tell you  having faith in God is so vital. Don't tell me otherwise, I have been through too much to believe that. Life went on after that.

July 10th 2010 I was back in the hospital because of a tumor to my eye. Had radiation and started chemo. A certain hospital is San Jose told me I had only 6 months to 12 months to live and I have Stage 4....Its going to be a year in the next 2 weeks baby and I am still here!!!! No we are not going down without a fight!!  Thank you Lord for getting me through!! Family and friends are a vital support system.


Transferred to Stanford in September. Got an aggressive treatment plan after the review of the new scans. Did chemo therapy, lost my hair and my eyebrows..:o) Had surgery in Jan 2011. Next surgery was in March 2011.  Started chemo again a week after surgery. Hair grew back- thank you Jesus! I just need eyebrows to catch up..:o) I am so blessed to have great doctors and great care! With all the tiredness and things that come with it, it can be so difficult to be thankful. But I am very thankful to be still here.

It is physically, emotionally and mentally draining to go through this but what is the price on your life and good health? Life and good health are priceless and should not be taken for granted. I want to stay around to see my nephews and nieces grow up and make some of our life long dreams come true.

Get checked and be pro-active!! There is so many resources out there. Also check out the American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/ They have a lot of useful information.

If this has helped even one person, I have met my goal.

Have a great day!
God bless.

Here's To Good Health

Top of the morning to yah! Let me see...I am happy to be alive this morning and I am enjoying a moment of being cool, calm and collected...lol!

I really miss just being normal. You know temperatures not exceeding 100F and no chills in the middle of the day. Everyone is trying to cool down because of the heat and I need the heater on. I spent a day with Mom last week. While she was sewing I was sitting in the recliner with two blankets totally covered (yes even my head) lol! and I was still shivering. I slept it off within about 2 hours I started getting warm again so I took the blanket down to my chin and then finally got rid of it when I was warner. By the evening I was on a hotflash rampage. Mom wanted the door closed because it was getting cooler and I wanted it open, you guessed it...I was hot! Such is my life with all this medications I am on. 

I do miss a lot of things that I used to take for granted. Some more than others. Its like a guessing game sometimes ;o) I am a quick learner! lol! I think in my case it was harder for my accept that this was out of my hands. I could not change it or just simply turn away from it. I know God is still faithful and He will see me through this. 

Oh how about this...just be spontaneous and just going wherever you want to go. I miss that:o) or just trying out new things just for the heck of it....lol! I miss a lot of things but I know this is all for me to get better. I do understand that.

Things I will not miss are as follows: fatigue, having a sucky immune system, nausea, stomach issues, headaches, being a catcher of all flus and virus (lol!) blood transfusions, chemo, surgeries, doctors visits, blood tests, shots, hospital stays, ER visits, scans, x-rays, taking pills, sleepless nights, hotflashes, chills, fevers, hair loss, nail and skin changes, running nose, coughs, chest pain, bone pain..... (even I was surprised how long the list went...lol!)

Good health is my first priority. Good health is so priceless. Just ask me and any other sick person. If you have good health do not take it for granted and think that it will never happen to you. With cancer cases you can never be completely be out of the woods. Your care providers have an invisible leash on yah..lol! but for your own good and their experimentation (yes you are a guinea pig)..lol! I am looking forward to what the future will bring. I really am :o)

Have a good one!


Friday, June 24, 2011

HAPPY FRIDAY

I was discharged from Stanford Hospital at about 6pm. I went in the night before because of a fever. I was in the ER and had to wear mask so that I don't catch anything. Knowing me I just love to catch it all!....lol! I don't discriminate...hahaha! Come one, come all...okay I am killing this...lol! So anyway the visit to the ER was okay.

I like to people watch. So while we were sitting in the waiting room there was a bunch of college boys sitting in the corner just so engrossed in whatever they were doing. Two were on the internet, one was reading and the other one was playing games on his phone. Facing them was this one young girl, I think she was waiting for someone. Dressed in workout clothes and was on her phone doing some things but now and again she would sneak a peek at these guys.Then she would get up and walk around and then look at these guys and then she would come back and sit down...lol! It was just so hilarious because I think she wanted to be noticed but the guys were just too busy to look her way! Of course I would elbow Sau...lol! At the ER they have these windows in the hallway that you could look into the ER waiting room. She walks out of the ER waiting room and walks by the window and looks into the window by where the guys were but no one was paying attention. Poor thing..lol!

So they admitted me, my nurse was Richard. Just so flamboyant and all over the place. He said he used to be an oncology nurse. So he was going to get my port in the first try. And he did. He said they needed blood from my veins. I never used to have a problem with that until my veins decided to disappear from time to time. It has become a hide-n-go seek game whenever we do that. Only special people can locate my veins..lol! First try he got it, so I gotta give it to him. He walks his talk!
Stayed in the ER for about 5hours. Transferred at about 6am to my room. You really can't get enough rest in the hospital. You are constantly being woken up to take pills, take vitals, do tests, go for x-rays....So I am always glad to come home. I am not gonna lie...I always ask on the first day when I am going to go home...yes that bad. As soon as I get discharge papers you best believe my tail will be out of there in 15minutes flat...Dressed and packed and fastwalking down that hallway to the parking lot..lol!

My stay was not so bad I was just restless and tired and they had me on so much fluid that I was going every hour to the bathroom till this morning. So I barely slept.   So happy to be home and waking up this morning in my own bed. Hoping this weekend is a little more relaxing with less drama and no visits to the ER.

HAPPY WEEKEND!!!