Tuesday, May 31, 2005

lung cancer (Adenocarcinoma)


On May 2002, I was diagnosed with lung cancer (Adenocarcinoma). The tumor on my left lung was 5?cm in diameter, plus another 2cm engulfing my aorta. The thoracic surgeon informed my husband and I that surgery is not possible because of the location of the tumor. He said that just a prick of the needle to the aorta will be catastrophic. The radiologist also said that the fast reaction of the radiation will unplug the holes on the aorta due to highly possible invasion of the tumor on the walls of the artery. The oncologist suggested chemotherapy, if I want to take the big risk. She was concerned about the effect of the chemo on the aorta, which might cause internal bleeding. She was only giving me an option because of my age (I was just 48 years old then). She said that if I was older, she wouldn't even consider it. My oncologist presented the worst case scenario, that without the chemo, in 15-18 months it would be downhill for me. With chemo, in three months time, when the drug starts to take effect and the result is not good, it might be the end of me. After almost two weeks of deliberation with my family, I decided to have the chemotherapy and take my chance.

I had the therapy for five months, and with positive results, the radiologist took over and gave me thirty days of radiation. I was in remission from December 2002 to December 2003. Unfortunately, there was a re-growth of about 2cm in the location. Again, I underwent a series of chemotherapy from January to April 2004. This time, the effect of the drug was too much to bear. I lost all my body hair, my finger and toe nails, my taste buds were gone and swallowing was so difficult. My oncologist decided to give me a two-week break. My husband and I took this opportunity to go to the Philippines to be with my loved ones. During this visit, my older sister placed a Jade mattress on my bed. After two days of using it, I was able to have a really good sleep. As a result, my sister insisted we take the mattress with us to Australia.

Upon my homecoming, I was scheduled for another series of chemo with a different drug. However, with just one treatment, the tingling sensation I felt in my toes and legs returned. I explained my situation to my oncologist and she decided to stop the treatment altogether. The therapy was not helping me anymore, it had no effect on the tumor and it had potential to cause more damage to my organs. The doctor made an appointment for me to see a palliative care doctor which I cancelled.

I spoke with my Aunt from the States about the matter. Tess, begged me to try the Mangosteen juice. I was hesitant, but she sent me the first four-bottle batch of juice anyway. I agreed to start drinking the juice on June 17, as a birthday present. Three days upon drinking the juice, 90 mls ( 3 oz ) three times a day, the bloated feeling I had been subjected to during treatment had disappeared. I was able to carry out more activities around the home and before I realized it, I could continue walking and performing house chores for extended periods without feeling short of breath. The quality of my life had improved. I haven't taken any medicine/pain relievers since then.

I had the progressive chest and abdomen scan on September 6. On September 7, upon seeing the oncologist, she commented on my healthy appearance. She read the results of the test, the conclusion stating: "Near complete resolution of the left pleural effusion. Otherwise stable features with no evidence of disease progression." She displayed the films to us, explaining "there is no evidence of cancer cells, only the scarring caused by radiation. Congratulations, you can now enjoy your life again! No more tests, just follow up in three months time."

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