Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Waiting for the call from Mayo

It's been awhile since I made a blog post.  It's been a busy few weeks.  Kids are settled in school.  The home situation is settled.  Work at Global Sources has normalized. Work hours are a bit different (7-12 at night, then mornings until about 1-2pm) but I've gotten accustomed to it and it works out just fine.  Previously, things had become a "new normal" and that at times, I would forget that I had cancer.  Well, I don't forget anymore.  Every day, I'm thinking of it. Nothing to worry about, my multiple myeloma is still in remission and I feel great.  But ever since Aug. 12, when I met Dr. Gertz, there's been a waiting game, waiting for the next steps towards scheduling a bone marrow transplant.  This is the long-term treatment for my Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis. 

Why the delay?  Actually, there isn't a delay.  Mayo Clinic needs to have their internal recommendation ready and then they contact my insurance company.  Both Mayo Clinic and my Insurance company have contacted me and have told me that they're talking to each other to work out the details.  Once they've agreed, then the "Schedulers" come in.  Then we'll know what will happen and how to schedule it.  The process for a bone marrow transplant isn't exactly simple.  There's 1 week worth of tests, 1 week of stem cell extraction (you're sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day).  It's similar to my dialysis treatments from 3 months ago (seems like a lifetime ago).  Then, there's the "reset button", where there is a massive chemo dose, followed by infusion of my stem cells.  Then recovery.  Through this process, there will be immunity issues which we'll have to deal with.  Also, we'll need to deal with a departure from our new normal.  The kids will still be going to school during this time so we'll need help to take care of them while at Mayo Clinic.  We'll have to work out all of the logistics soon enough.  We've made it so far and I'm pretty confident we'll be able to get through this as well.   I still have other signs that I'm still not even close to 100%.  For obvious reasons, I can't lift heavy things.  My bones are not exactly super strong.  My skinny arms and legs are still, well, skinny.  My face looks like it's fat because of the corticosteroids even though I'm at my high school weight.  As an aside, I always get comments from anyone Filipino who sees me via Facetime or Skype "Ang taba taba mo na!" or "Tumaba ka na".  To my English speaking friends and family, loosely translated, that means "You look so fat now!" or "You've gotten fatter!"  It's not a negative thing (actually can be considered a compliment), considering my skeletal appearance a few months ago.  The meaning is that "you look healthier!"  That being said, my hair is starting to thin out from the weekly chemo and anti-nausea. During my weekly chemo sessions, unfortunately, it averages 4 tries before the nurses are able to find a vein that "sticks".   

Then, we have to do the normal things that people in Minnesota need to do, i.e., buy winter clothes.  When we left Manila in April, we only had two suitcases and nothing for winter.  Kids didn't have coats, booths, gloves, etc.. Well, they do now and they're ready for the elements.  Whether they have the thick skin that people in MN have, not sure yet but we're ready!  

We also have holiday planning to think about.  Nearly a year ago, we planned for a family reunion over New Year 2014 in the Philippines and in Boracay with Mike's family and my parents.  Well, they're all going, except for us!  We'll be staying here.  No worries, we'll enjoy our 1st Christmas here and New Year in Minneapolis while they'll all be enjoying the beaches of Boracay. 

My insurance company just sent me an email saying that they will be calling me shortly to confirm the approved treatment.  OK, that's a positive signal.  We're almost there.  Will let all know when this will happen, and then the journey will continue. 


  1. Thanks for the update Amigo Armando! May GOD Bless You & Your Familia! Prayers and Thoughts, best regards, rico Austin http://blog.mybadtequila.com

  2. Thanks Armando for this update. Im glad I decided to open FB and see your post. Its been a while since I've seen you, so its nice to see your family picture with your children all grown up. I'm adding you to my nightly prayers.

  3. I cannot believe I didn't know about this. Last I heard you were better. So, I'm a little behind. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, Armando, and your family! I'm happy to know that you're still smiling and you are adjusting ok to the great white north. Love you!!!