Friday, April 19, 2013

One in a Million

To my dearest family and my friends, this is Buddy on Friday morning, April 19, 2013.  Ria noted below my diagnosis.  Here is a brief description.

Amyloidosis (am-uh-loi-DO-sis) is a disease that occurs when substances called amyloid proteins build up in your organs. Amyloid is an abnormal protein usually produced by cells in your bone marrow that can be deposited in any tissue or organ.  Primary Amyloidosis is rare, affecting about 8 in One Million people.  

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, found in bone marrow, the blood-producing tissue that fills in spaces within bone. In people with multiple myeloma, abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) multiply in the bone marrow, the factory of the blood. The result is fewer healthy blood cells (red cells, white cells and platelets). These plasma cells also produce an abnormal protein (a monoclonal, or M, protein) that can cause damage.  

15% of Amyloidosis patients have myeloma.  Do the math and the frequency of this is one in a million people have the combination of these two diseases.  I'm THE one!

Before we made this posting, Ria and I wanted to talk with our kids.  We told Luis and Nadya last night.  I told them that daddy had cancer.  I already told them that I took the first dose of Chemotherapy (yesterday, Thursday) and they gave me a thumbs up and said "Go daddy!".  I talked to Bianca this morning and she asked me, "Do you have cancer daddy?".  I said "Yes, baby, daddy has cancer".  Ria and I agreed from the outset that  we would tell our children everything.  I think they understood the situation and they're taking it well.  Many of you are parents and when your 7 year old says "I really miss you daddy", it's a bit hard not to well up a bit.  

Yesterday was the kickoff, I had the first shot of chemotherapy at 345pm.  No immediate side effects.  I also had my first dose of Prednisone (corticosteroid) as well as a beta blocker for my recent heart problems.  Today I will be going through 10 tablets of an oral chemotherapy, nausea reduction medicine, along with a couple of antibiotics.  The first "series" of chemotherapy will last for 3 months.  My cousin Dr. Ruffy (Festin) has also set me up with a local doctor to help administer the chemo shots so we don't have to go to Rochester every week.  

My spirits are great.  How can they not be with the family and friends we have?  My wonderful wife has now graduated with a Class A wheelchair driving license.  She's the reason that I can't stop smiling every day (whether I have bone cancer or not!).  I also can't say enough about my 83 year old father, who has more physical strength than many people 1/2 his age.  My 77 year old mom can drive better through a Minnesota winter storm than any "Manong Driver" I know.  My brother who takes quick day trips to MN to see me before he heads to Paris.  My wonderful kids and my in-laws who are taking care of them.  I also can't say enough thank yous to my extended family and friends who call, Facetime, Skype, text, comment on the blog and send their prayers.  My love and hugs to all of you for your support.

Cancer is a very serious issue.  We all know that and we've all been touched by it at some point in our lives.  I've found that prayer and faith in our Lord has always been at the forefront in treatment of Cancer.  Yes, I'll have to take all the chemotherapy, corticosteroids, antibiotics, beta-blockers, etc.., but none of that will mean anything without all of your prayers, your love and well wishes.

I've also found that a positive attitude and being able to laugh and enjoy life during this "journey" is important.  To complement the theme of "One in a Million", please click on the video below.  Many of you (like Ria and I) grew up in the 80's generation (you know who you are).  My request is in addition to sending your prayers, that each of you click and watch the video.  Sing the lyrics (you know them!), dance along with the music (ladies of the 80's, please bring back your left-right step from 2:54-3:05!).  You will be reminded of the feathered hair, big collars, and everything that was wonderful about music back then.  Yes, your children will look at you funny.  

I know you are laughing and smiling!  

More to come soon!



  1. Hang in there, Buddy and Ria! We continue to pray for you. Take care!

    Cindy and Set

  2. Indeed, we all knew you were special Armando (sorry, can’t get used to calling you Buddy yet)! And, there’s no question that the 80’s produced the greatest musical generation ever (although the fashion is best left in the past)!  Love the humor and your spirit – traits that will serve you well in the next phase. We have been checking your blog every day and following the journey, along with many prayers and positive thoughts. We are grateful for your strong, wonderful wife, not only for being your “rock” but for sharing the journey so those of us who can’t be with you can still stay in touch. Now, begins the road to healing, and your positive attitude and faith will undoubtedly enhance the medical treatment… as well as the amazing support you have from those immediately around you (and from those of us around the world who care about you). Much love and big hugs, Jacqueline & Antonio

  3. We continue to pray for you bud and ria. Stay strong and smile! - Paul and am

  4. You truly are one in a million, Buddy. And you are going to kick this cancer in its butt. You've started the road to healing. See you when all this is over in a celebratory 80's themed party. Get your hips fixed because there will be a lot of dancing! Mwah! -- Buda

  5. I always knew you were special Buddy but you've taken it to another level. Love the video as it brings back many happy memories of the 80s. I have to say though that the mullet is just as unattractive on women as it is on men....just sayin'.
    I'm thankful that you guys finally know what you're facing and I'm thankful that you're getting treatment for it here. I am also thankful that Ria is with you. I have the utmost admiration and love for the both of you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I check the blog every day. The both of you are in my thoughts and prayers every day. Much love to the both of you. - Maris

  6. Get well soon Tito Buddy. The video made my mom smile. We prayed the rosary for you last night. Love Lucas.

    1. Loved it, Twink!!! Thanks for putting a smile on our face and letting us chuckle with the video... that was so generous of you. You are definitely our 1 in a million, Bud!
      Leah's right... you and Ria are our idol! We are truly inspired and amazed by your grace and amazing spirit!
      Sending all our love and unending prayers...
      love you guys!

  7. HI there BUDDY AND RIA, its the YAPS from Down under.. we have been reading about your journey.. praying for each step you take... we are certain you will KICK this.. still looking fwd to hanging out with you sometime soon when we all go back to Manila.... stay strong, be happy and our dear LORD will always be at your side as you go through your chemo... Joanne Patrick Jacob Jerome and Jorel Yap

  8. Hello my dearest Kid Bro,

    Yes, YOU are truly truly are ONE IN A MILLION!!! You are SECOND TO NONE!!!
    You and Ria are my inspiration. Such an inspiration to all!

    I couldn't help but laugh and sway to the music. Gosh! Please, let's not go back to that "puffy" hairstyle. But, YES, let's have that 80's party, k?!!!

    I remember when we were in highschool, you were diligently sending us the MTV videos in Betamax (sounds so ancient) especially since the Philippines was so behind in MTV's during those days. You were so tiyaga in taping all those different MTV's for us. You were always after our happiness Buds, then and even now. You haven't changed! :) Thank you so much Buds! :)
    There's something about you makes us want to keep on loving you!!! :)

    Your spirit is truly remarkable! Keep it up! :) Please send my love to Ria, Tito Mando and Tita Linda.

    We are by your side every step of the way! We are keeping the faith and continue to pray for you.
    Love you so much my Kid Bro!!!!


  9. We're with the kids on this - Go Buddy! Your spirit and attitude are awesome. So many are praying for you, Ria, and the kids. We are certain that prayer warriors will continue to grow in number. Take care. Butch, Dinah, & Jao

  10. That's our Buddy!
    Billy Idol! :)
    Thank you Buddy and Ria!
    We needed that.

  11. That was me. Leah :)

  12. Hey Buds! You are truly one in a million and an inspiration to all! Your disposition and attitude is astounding
    I tried downloading "Somebody" from Depeche Mode but it didn't want to work. I'll just try to download your wedding version instead. Hehe.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and family always.

  13. We will continue to keep you and your family members in our prayers. With the number of supportive family members and friends sending their prayers, we surely will "storm the heavens!". Ken and Karen Marz

  14. One in a million talaga! Staying positive is key! Have to admit I never watched that video, the milkshake looked really good! Can't wait to get you back to your super energetic self! Will continue praying! - Trinna

  15. I don't see a man ridden with a very rare disease. I see a guy full of spirit, his smiles are just contagious! I'm one of your prayer warriors, buddy. there is strength in numbers, and you still have LOTS out there.

    hugs to you and ria.

  16. You are in my daily prayers...-(Leah Sanchez's nun-friend)

  17. Buddy best of luck to you n your family. I remember older days in the gym you jumping and grabbing the rim. Yea I was better than you (maybe) but always a little envious since I could touch net. Lets dunk this cancer. Stay strong nate duda and family.

  18. Thanks for sharing the video and your thoughts and innermost feelings Buddy. We truly admire your strong and positive spirit. You are truly Ria's prince charming :-) Ria's charm and wit despite any situation is still evident :-) We are so happy that many people care for you and are praying for you, our family included. Keep srrong and God bless. - pot, edward, sab and jaime

  19. Buddy and Ria, you are in our thoughts always and we pray and pray for Buddy’s full recovery. Keep your strength up as you go through this. We are cheering you on! – Carlo and Kip

  20. You guys are awesome;such an inspiration! Life is worth living. Keep up the fight. With you in prayers... Rufi

  21. Another 80's song for you Buds - You are always on my mind by Pet Shop Boys.
    We can't stop thinking of you and praying for you!
    In the homily today, the priest shared a story about a man who wouldn't give up because of his "indomitable spirit".
    I immediately thought of you. You are our true warrior (with an amazing wife and fabulous kids)!
    Love you!!

  22. Ria, Buddy,
    This is Sheila Irlandez-tolentino, Ria's hs friend. Both of you are in my prayers. I had aunts who had cancer and survived because their spirit remained positive. You have more than that. Keep fighting!

  23. Buddy and Ria, we will be praying for you. My dad had cancer too and I know how its like. But really half of the battle is won with just having a very positive outlook. You will also be one in a million who will conquer this. Hugs! -- Jayjay Veloso

  24. We continue to pray for you Buddy and Ria.
    Happy to see you in high spirits.
    We know you'll come out of this chapter triumphant and that you will beat it!
    Continue to keep your positive view and your sense of humor.
    Claim your healing and know that HE will always be there for you and your family.
    - Liza, Nelo and Nikko

  25. Buddy and Ria,
    My thoughts are with you. I'm praying for you. God never fails to show His miracles to anyone who has faith in Him. Be strong.

    My mom had some form of viral encephalitis last March. Her brain swelled and time was very crucial for us to get her IV medications before her condition turns for the worst. I felt so down and low and I could not sleep or eat well during that period, but God showed His love for our family. Day by day, God showed us miracles and sent His angels to help our family. My mother fully recovered like nothing happened (save for micro seizures, in which the nerves will eventually heal itself).

    -Venus Fortuna
    member, facebook/Philippine Crafters Association

  26. Love you man....I know you going to kick the shit out of this thing called cancer....will see you soon

  27. Hi, Buddy and Ria... We continue to pray for Buddy's complete recovery, and that every medicine, therapy and cure administered by the doctors in his body will perform miracles in Jesus' name! Seeing Buddy having the positive/amazing attitude can only make us smile and hopeful that he will get better and better each day. Hugs from all of us.. Meriam, Ranier and Lyndon Jimenez :)

  28. Hey Buddy & Family,

    Keep up the good fight with your faithful and positive spirits! You are doing awesome and you WILL overcome this battle! You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

    And yes, you are so right, God is the answer and healer of all things. God is good and He knows. May He continue to bless you all with over-abundant peace, love, and speedy recovery.

    Some verses for you:

    Isaiah 58:8 (NIV)
    Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
    then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

    Jeremiah 30:17 (NIV)
    But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’
    declares the Lord,‘because you are called an outcast,
    Zion for whom no one cares.’

    Psalm 41 (NIV)

    God Bless & Strengthen,


  29. Hi Everyone in the Family...God always tests his diciples the most...It is his way of doing it...I wish our friend a healthy and quick recovery. God Bless!

  30. Our prayers are with you Armando and the family and all the brethren in my Discipleship group in the church are praying for you.
    God will surely sustain you and just like what Apostle Paul experienced in his thorn in the flesh, God's grace is sufficient for him
    and same with you. We may never understand why God allows such sickness in one person's life, but I believe, God has a purpose
    and He has a plan. With things we can't comprehend from our human view point & how God works in us, we can always trust
    God's gracious heart =).

    May God reveal His great plan and purpose in you Armando, even in pain and in weakness. For when we are weak, then we are strong (Spiritually).

    2 Corinthians 12:8-10
    Three times I pleaded with the Lord to
    take it away from me. But he said to me, “My
    grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made
    perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the
    more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s
    power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s
    sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,
    in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak,
    then I am strong.

    With you in prayers,
    Agnes Beltran Batallones