Saturday, October 11, 2014

Big bad brain tumor

In May or June (this year), I noticed that I frequently have headache, nerve pain (inside my head) and I often feel disoriented. Good thing, I already know how to manage it. That’s what life is with Neurofibromatosis (NF) and I’m used to it. Then a few weeks ago, I’ve been feeling disoriented and I almost had a seizure. I know the feeling every time I’m about to have seizures. I just know. Amazing, right? I just have to stop what I’m doing, be calm, drink water, drink my anti-seizure, drink water again, and deep breathing. Inhale. Exhale. It works all the time! I never had seizures ever since I started doing this. Almost seizure but it never succeeds! I always win! Haha.

After that, I told my mom that I almost had a seizure and told her about that ‘disoriented feeling’. Then we remembered that it’s been a while since my last cranial CT scan to monitor my tumors. After that, my mom told my neurosurgeon, Dr. Lopez about it and a few days after we got the letter of request and I was scheduled to have the CT scan at PGH-FMAB.

It was supposed to be on October 3 but it was raining and metro manila easily gets flooded nowadays so it was rescheduled the following Monday (October 6, which is also a holiday). The whole family was with me. Talitha and Maro were my cheerleaders daw. We were joking that we came all the way from the province. La Union. We’re surfers! Haha. That’s Talitha’s way of entertaining me/us while waiting for the CT scan plates to finish printing.

The CT scan procedure was not as long as having MRI. While lying down, after I finished praying and was about to think of what food to eat after, Talitha was already in front of me taking pictures; it’s already done. Bitin! LOL.

Anyway, it’s much better if it’s MRI coz it’s the standard for monitoring tumors. But since there’s a wire in my head because of the cochlear implant, I still need a clearance for it. It’s MRI safe, but still. That’s the reason why we forgot to have the CT scan in 2012 & 2013. We always say we’ll get clearance from Med-El until we forgot. Forgot. Forgot.

Although I’m a very very very hopeful and positive person, I knew that something’s not right with my brain. I can feel it and as Talitha said, "It's better to know than not know" and I second that!

When I was checking the plates, I noticed that there were a lot of white spots (these spots are usually the tumors). This is NF. We’re full of (mostly) benign tumors all over our body, sprouting like mushrooms. It’s okay as long as they don’t cause any harm. I also noticed the big tumor, but maybe it’s the print. Maybe. We still don’t know the exact result coz we have yet to get the reading and have Dr. Lopez explain it.

We got the result on Thursday morning. It was so long! This is the first time that my CT Scan (even MRI) reading were composed of 2 sheets of paper! It was so long; 12 plus a couple of notes. Item number 1 caught my attention: right cerebellopontine angle with associated widening of the internal auditory canal now measuring 3.8 x 4.7 x 4.3 cm from previous of 1.0 x 1.1 x 0.7cm. This causes further compression of the brainstem, right cerebellum and fourth ventricle.

I got so many brain tumors, I'm not sure which is which

In the afternoon, we went at Dr. Lopez’ clinic in Cardinal Santos Medical Center and we found out that this large tumor is already compressing the brainstem and may cause more harm. It’s aggressive but we don’t know how aggressive it is and it needs to be treated with 5 sessions of both Hypofractionated stereotactic radiotherapy and Hypofractionated stereotactic radiation therapy that will cost about Php 400,000.

My mom got scared when Dr. Lopez said that the treatment will be radiosurgery (SRS) because after my SRS in 2005, during the swelling stage (for 6 months) that was when my health started deteriorating and became so weak. But when Dr. Lopez said that this is more advanced and this is what was done to Shiela (one of my NF Friends), my mom suddenly felt at ease.

It’s not an emergency case but like my previous surgeries, it’s a priority! The aggressive brain tumor is already big (3.8 x 4.7 x 4.3 cm) and causing a compression of the brainstem. How aggressive it is? No one knows. If we’ll let it be, it may cause more complications. As for the other tumors; they are small and harmless. Thank God.

Now, we need to raise Php 400K. If only it’s just 400 pesos, but it’s not. Haha. I can’t think of something yet to help us generate our funds but I have an ongoing fundraising campaign for my medical funds. That will do for now, but I know it isn’t enough. Every cent count, right? I have always believe that as long as we are doing something and move our feet forward, God will lead our path. God helps those who help themselves. He will definitely provide!

I'm not really comfortable in asking for your hard-earned money without giving you something in return. You can checkout my shirt designs and buy from me. You can also visit Art Ah Tack on Facebook.

Still, I'm sincerely posting my bank account. I'll really really really appreciate whatever you can share, but please don't feel obliged. Big or small, help is help and your prayer is one of them.

Banco De Oro (BDO)
Savings Acct Number: 00 02 809 824 88
Banco De Oro SM Megamall Branch, Mandaluyong City 

Feel free to contact us!
Madge Yarza at 0927-2459400
Kcat Yarza at 0915-1325228 / 0923-5219600

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Kcat! I'm in the middle of transitioning into a new job, so even if I want to give something for your therapy, I can't do that right now. I will surely include you in my prayer. I'll pray, too, that I'd have financial rewards soon so that I can help in my own little way. Be strong and keep the faith!


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