My Breast Cancer Journal

I was just Diagnosed with Breast Cancer. What is my preparation?

About me

Hello everyone! I’m Dang.

 Thank you for dropping by.  Welcome to my humble zone.

I’m a breast cancer patient fighting for my rights to live. I created to show that BIG C is not the end of the world. But a beginning of a fight and a new life. I encourage those who are at the same shoes to fight even if you feel exhausted, even your wallet was drained. That, there are reason to fight back and a reason not to give up. Cheers!

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After a series of tests and biopsy (I wrote the stories here.)

I waited for 2 weeks to get the result.

“Invasive Carcinoma with no special type”

That is my breast biopsy result. I just uttered. Oh, God!

I was just diagnosed with breast cancer!

Note: in this blog, I will tackle the things you need to do if you are diagnosed with breast cancer in the Philippines.

Yes, I specified the Philippines because this blog category “ my breast cancer journal” is based on my personal experience. As a breast cancer patient, I want to share everything about my cancer journey. And to guide other patients with the right path on what to do. It will help you save your time and money. And maximize the benefits offered by the government.

What are the things I did after I was just diagnosed with breast cancer?

1. Look for the Government hospital with Cancer Center. 

Cancer Center (government owned)
Look for cancer center in your place to start your breast cancer treament

I can say that I’m lucky enough to have a hospital in my place with Cancer Center. It is a big help for every cancer patient because they are focused on cancer cases only. 

Cancer Centers have their pharmacy. It is a way big advantage because they charge the medicine with the lowest price compared outside. An example of this is G-CSF. It is worth P4500 in one leading drugstore but P1800 only in Cancer Center. That’s P2700 savings in every G-CSF. To think that the doctors may require you to inject 4 shots to help your body produce white blood cells. That’s P10800 savings in every chemotherapy session!

Cancer Center has complete facilities that are needed by the cancer patient. Like Radiation which is not available in other hospitals. You need this as part of your cancer protocol. If your hospital has no radiation services, it may be a hassle for you to travel every day just to complete your radiation therapy. And maybe you cannot complete your session for the inconvenience. It is better to choose a hospital that offered radiation therapy and that is included in Cancer Center. It is free of charge if you apply for charity. But if you are in private, they will charge you 800 as a Professional fee plus 2200 radiation fee. Radiation therapy has a 20, 30-day cycle depending on your case.

I used my Philhealth for my radiation therapy and apply for charity so I don’t pay anything.

One of my most favorite of having a cancer Center is the availability of government benefits like Z package and BCMAP. It helped me ease my financial burden in curing my breast cancer.

2. Create your own Team Doctors.

Create your team doctors that you can ask about your breast cancer
Your team doctor will help and explain to you about breast cancer

There’s much more to ask your doctors. That is why I recommend having a team of doctors that you can ask to. They are the most reliable to answer your question about what you feel and complain about the side effect of chemotherapy. The doctors include Medical Oncologist, surgical oncologist, radiation oncologist. Cancer patients should be equipped with information regarding treatments to received. Like what to expect in chemotherapy, its side effect, and what is the key to lessen the effect of all medicine.

You may want to read Side effects of Chemo drugs

3. Prepare your SSS benefits

Before I proceeded to biopsy, I decided to check my SSS contribution. I make sure that I have sufficient contribution to avail of my sickness benefits. You can also file partial disability for your cancer. Just fill-up the form provided by the SSS office and have it signed by your doctors. It may take 3- 4 months to be approved. I got a full 37k as sickness benefit and a monthly pension of 4300 for 1 year. This is a small amount but it helps. The amount you will receive will depend on your contribution. As for me, I’m just a volunteered member so my contribution is lower.

4. Prepare your kitchen

Blender and Juicer is a must for a cancer patient. After your chemotherapy, you may lose your appetite and begin to despise foods that you loved before. To gain your strength, blended fruits and vegetables are important to replenish your energy. It is a very convenient way to boost your body with natural nutrients.

Fruitshakes and juicer or blender
Catch the live enzymes in blending fruits and vegetables.

I suggest using juicer after your chemo session to avoid the upset of your stomach. Remember that, chemo kills your good bacteria in your gut. So, your stomach may feel sensitive with high fiber food and you may feel stomachache and diarrhea.

Here’s an article about food for cancer patients

5. Prepare your budget

This is a hard truth. Cancer is an expensive disease. From blood test, Ct scan, ultrasound, biopsy, and laboratory test. I later found out that these tests can be applied in the Malasakit program. Just present a medical certificate and a seal to be approved. But I want to warn you to be prepared to be extra patient in a long wait line.

Here are the dropdowns of my expenses that are required before chemotherapy:

Breast Panel7000
CT-Scan plain and contrast15000
Mammogram/ Ultrasound4000
2D Echo3700
Blood test( Creatinine/ CBC600-700
FISH 14000

Total of P50,100. That is the total amount I spend before proceeding to chemotherapy. I did the test in a private hospital because I can’t wait for a long schedule in a public hospital. I was worried that I’m running out of time and my cancer can be metastasized.

I found out later that it can be enrolled in Malasakit as long as you provide medical certificates. It may be a long wait like 2 weeks before my turn to accommodate in CT scan but I could save such amount for buying healthy products that I truly needed.

Note: A FISH test is not mandatory. It just happened that my HER2 Neu result comes out EQUIVOCAL. It means they can’t say if I’m positive or negative in HER2 protein.

6. Prepare yourself

Check your health status. Chemotherapy can weaken your immune system and may lead to more serious aftermath. It is important to know if you can tolerate the side effects of chemo drugs. As for me, I know of myself that I can tolerate the coming side effects. But when the time that I’m there, I was surprised. Stomachache, dizziness, vomiting is just a minor side effect that I experienced. Inside of my body is weakening and vulnerable in other diseases like pneumonia, kidney failure, heart disease.

What I did after a session of chemotherapy is to make myself healthier. By eating different kinds of raw vegetables and fruits 3x a day. Juicing or blending fruits and vegetables are my powerful allies to beat the side effects. It makes my body recover from a disastrous chemotherapy.

Keynote in juicing: Consume the juice right after the process of extraction. The most important to do is to catch the enzymes as soon as possible. Those enzymes will die after 30 min. So, it’s better to drink it immediately after juicing.

My Verdict

The shocking truth that I was just diagnosed with breast cancer shaken down my whole world. I may not be prepared in this situation but with the help of God and family, I can be a breast cancer survivor. I can’t forget what my doctor says that moved me into a distinctive decision. He said that,

“Cancer is cancer. You can cure it if detected earlier. But if it metastasized, only treatment can be done.”

That is why I change my beliefs. I sort everything from conventional and natural healing. I mixed both powerful ways to cure cancer and minimized the side effect of conventional drugs.

I want to tell you that don’t be like me.  I’m stubborn and critics. I don’t believe in many doctors before because I’m always a fan of natural medicine. I’m always biased if holistic healing is up for discussion. I always believe in natural medicine. But, why I’m doing chemotherapy?

Because I suddenly listen. I listen to my body, saying I’m running out of time.

Till next time!