Friday, April 2, 2010

Another Katrina needs your help

I saw this on my mom's wall in facebook..

Good day!

This is Katrina Tolentino Cruz, graduate of Bachelor of Science in Nursing Batch March 2009 of Perpetual Help College of Manila.

I didn’t expect that this will happen to me. I was diagnosed with APLASTIC ANEMIA last August 2009. Everything seemed to be normal when I was in college… studies, duties, enjoying life with my family, friends, classmates, and loved ones. But then, when I entered 4th year college, I thought that would be more exciting because graduation was coming. We had enjoyed our hospital duties, more special areas like OR (Operating Room), DR (Delivery Room), ER (Emergency Room) and more. But then, it was not perfect than I expected, I noticed that my stamina was going low. I grew tired easily. I gradually feel headache, dizziness, and my lips and conjunctiva were really pale. I was having a hard time to climb the stairs. I thought it was just on my mind that I was weaker. I also noticed some bruises appearing in some parts of my body - legs, arms, and knees. Then, one time, when we were in our hospital duty, I had dizziness, cold clammy skin and I almost lost my consciousness. We were thinking that it was a simple hypoglycemia. Maybe, it was a sign of Aplastic Anemia. Until, Graduation Day and Pin and Ring Ceremony came, I really feel great because at last I had finished my course and I can now enter another chapter of life.

I decided to take the Nursing Licensure Examination June 2009. I seriously took our in-house review. I and my friends stayed and studied in the library everyday. We shared our ideas and we had brainstorming. But then, I suddenly felt that the symptoms were getting worse, so my family and I decided to have a CBC (Complete Blood Count). All blood counts were below normal. “Maybe, it’s Aplastic Anemia! Lord, please, hope it’s not.” I told myself. Then, the day of the board exam came. I was quite nervous, and can’t concentrate because of what I was experiencing - headache and dizziness. I can’t back out because everything was ready so I took the risk.

While waiting for the board exam result, I had myself checked-up in the hospital (PGH - Philippine General Hospital). The hematologist ordered CBC (Complete Blood Count) and Bone Marrow Biopsy and Aspiration. I can tolerate the pain during the procedure but once the anesthesia has gone, it was really painful. I also underwent series of blood transfusions but it’s only a temporary regimen to reduce the symptoms.

My dream to become a nurse was fulfilled last July 25, 2009. On the Internet, I found my name listed among those who passed the June 2009 Nursing Licensure Examination. “I can’t believe that I made it!” I was very happy! At last, I’m now a Registered Nurse! Thank you so much, Lord.”

The result of Bone Marrow Biopsy was revealed last August 2009. It was not good. I guessed it right. It’s APLASTIC ANEMIA! I felt sad and depressed. I am supposed to be the nurse, not the patient. I told myself, this is only a trial, God wants me to be strong. I know, He is always here for me. My family is also doing their best to find means for my treatment. They are always here for me.

Aplastic Anemia is a rare and fatal disease. The bone marrow is not producing enough blood. My RBC (Red Blood Cells) which is responsible for oxygen, WBC (White Blood Cells) responsible to fight infections and Platelet responsible for blood clotting are all below normal range. The hematologist prescribed me to have ATG (Anti-Thymocyte Globulin) treatment and Cyclosporine. We don’t have enough money to have ATG at once, so the doctor advised me to take the Cyclosporine 100mg, three times a day, daily. Maybe, I’ll take this for a long-term use if my body doesn’t respond. The bad news is, long-term use of Cyclosporine can affect the liver, spleen, kidneys, and other internal organs. Worst complications could happen if ATG is not given. Bone marrow transplant is another choice of treatment but we cannot afford it which will amount to P7, 000,000.00.

From February 28 - March 20, 2010, my fever didn’t subside. I had fever for 3 weeks. Laboratory tests for Malaria, Dengue, Typhoid Fever, urinalysis, blood smear, sputum and chest x-ray were done but all results were negative and normal. I was confined in the hospital for 17 days. Different antibiotics were administered to me (thru IV and oral) but then, my fever didn’t subside for 3 weeks. After few days, my hemoglobin and platelet count went down. I experienced gum bleeding, so I was transfused with 12 bags of Platelet and 4 units of pRBC. The doctor told me, that the fever I had was called Febrile Neutropenia because of low WBC count and neutrophil that was caused by Aplastic Anemia per se. I was put in reverse isolation because I was then more prone to infection. I was discharge last March 22, 2010 and still continue my CBC weekly to monitor my blood counts especially the Platelet because I am now prone to bleeding which may cause death if not avoided or stopped right away.

Now, we are preparing for the ATG treatment. Since my illness needs more hospitalizations, blood transfusions, laboratory tests, and medications, it’s hard to say that money doesn’t matter. I am fighting for almost a year now and the budget is not doing very well. We already asked for help from relatives, senators, congressmen, etc. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has given us P250, 000.00 grant but this will expire on the last week of April 2010 (that is why we are rushing to raise fund). Sadly, this is not enough. This ATG treatment reaches up to 1 million pesos- covering everything from room per day fee, medicines, laboratory tests, and Doctor’s professional fee. The ATG medicine from the horse itself costs up to P400, 000.00.

I am full in spirit and determined to pursue life. I am a positive person, full of dreams, passion, and determination. All I wish is to help my family and fulfill my dreams and this disease is taking these away from me. Any form of help is highly appreciated - financial and blood donors. I am pleading for your help and support to survive from this fatal disease to continue my life and pursue my dreams and plans for my family and my future. Please give me another chance to live…

Thank you very much. God bless!

My contact numbers:

Let us help her in whatever way we CAN.. Remember Prayers moves mountain..

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