Archive for the ‘Dr. Ditas Decena’ Category

I deliberately postponed blogging until I could gather some good news in my neck of the woods. Things were quite uneventful the past days, nothing really great to blog about.

Oh, I almost forgot, we celebrated Josef’s 37th birthday last August 21, Monday. It was a simple birthday celebration with just the four of us – fried chicken, spaghetti, muffins, cakes. He blew two candles with two kinds of cakes.

Today I had my first dose of Pfizer vaccine. Next would be on July 15. The long wait for other vaccine instead of Sinovac is over. I don’t like Sinovac.

What a sad day today is. He is gone too soon. I was shocked to learn of our former Pres. Noy Aquino passing on early this morning. I didn’t even know he was ill the past months.

For me, he was the best president we ever had. Good service, sincerity, decent, with integrity, loyalty and compassion to the Filipino people. During his term, the Philippines was called the Tiger of Asia.

Rest in peace Pres. Noy. You are now in the bosom of Mama Mary and the loving embrace of Jesus. Your parents, Sen. Ninoy and Pres. Cory must be really happy seeing you again. Please whisper in their ears to guide us always and to make the Philippines a great nation again.

Farewell, God bless you.


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Once I set foot at the UST Hospital, I thought of those days when I used to bring Dad to his nephrologist every other month for check-up. It was during those times when he had ESRD (end stage renal disease) until we all decided that he undergo dialysis but he only lasted six months after such procedure.  I also remember Nissa’s first surgical operation (last Tuesday was actually her third including a CS section when she gave birth to Nate) when she was in Grade V because of an ovarian cyst. One of her ovaries was removed.

Yesterday, I decided to visit my doctor who operated on me nineteen years ago and she was the same doctor who previously operated on Nissa when she was first confined there. She has been my OB GYN for the past thirty years.

With Dr. Ditas Decena, my OB GYN.

Imagine the thrill of seeing each other again after I visited her clinic ten years ago to ask for recommendation for a surgical oncologist when I found out I had stage 3 colon cancer. She gave me those friendly advices and told me that papillary thyroid carcinoma is easy to treat.  I described to her what I saw of Nissa’s removed thyroid and she readily said, “papillary”.  She remembers  those days when I used to visit her clinic for consultation.  She even recommended an OB Gyn she knows closer to our place. UST is a bit far from where we live.

I had the chance to visit UST again after more than eight years.  I’ve missed this place. I had a nice morning walk going to the  UST chapel today, heard mass yesterday at the UST Hospital chapel. Walked around the campus the other day.

This is the main building of UST. UST students are called the Growling Tigers.

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) is the oldest existing university in Asia. In terms of student population, it is the largest Catholic university in the world in a single campus. It covers a total of 21.5 hectares and was founded in 1611.

This is our College. Stayed here for five years and took up BSC Economics.

I was pretty amazed when I saw a student from high school. Imagine after all these years, they still wear the same color and design of uniform which we had fifty years ago. Nostalgia to the max.


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July 14, 2010

Thanks be to God!

Thank you for the gift of life,

Thank you for the gift of presence,

Thank you for the gift of family,

Thank you for the gift of friendship,

Thank you for the gift of healing,

May I see You in every person that I will meet,

May I see You in every event of my life.

And may I show You Lord to others.


Yesterday, I received this beautiful message and prayer from  Lovell, a close friend, who has been and is continuously  egging me on to appreciate life no matter how difficult it is sometimes,   and I was teary-eyed reading it.  It summarizes all the pains and the joys of  my journey, a year of  blessings and challenges!  Yes,  it is my first anniversary – at this same time last year, I was at the lowest ebb of my life, undergoing  a surgical resection of my colon because of a malignant cyst which turned out to be a Stage 3 colon cancer.   I was in denial for a while  but finally accepted that God must have a greater purpose in my life to give me such a heavy burden.  Imagine distancing yourself from a situation that you can’t control, and when you are caught with your defenses down, you look back and think of those times when life is simple and happiness means being healthy, having lots of loving friends at your side and a loving family to turn to and take care of you.

The last year has been an eye-opener for me.  I discovered that I am strong despite everything, I discovered that the presence of family and loving friends help a lot in one’s healing.  And putting your complete trust and faith in a loving God is the greatest thing you can do to help yourself get well.  Chemotherapy is no joke, it saps your body of strength  and the costly procedures add to your financial worries.  I know, I know, they would always say, concentrate on getting well,  sometimes though you can’t help but think, you are luckier than most people afflicted of the same illness because  at least you have an option to see a specialist and  do what is necessary for your healing.

Thank you! Thank God for giving me the strength to carry on, to endure the pain  and  not to whine, to count the blessings  of having my family around, thank  God for   friends who never fail to give encouragement,  thank you  for the people whom I’ve touched in one way or another by sharing my plight with them.

Thank you! Thank  God for my doctors, Dr. Samuel Ang, my surgical oncologist, the best doctor I’ve met, Dr. Priscilla Caguioa, my medical oncologist for being there during my chemotherapy sessions, Dr. Alvin dela Cruz, my cardiologist,  a very supportive and caring doctor,  Dr. Ditas Decena, my OB gynecologist who is also a friend, Dr. Jeff Jubilado, my urologist for being so encouraging, the nurses at Benavidez Cancer Institute- UST.

Thank you! Thank God for the gift of family – for having a loving and understanding hubby, for having  thoughtful kids and brothers.  I salute you all!

And for all those people who left some comments in my blogs, that they somehow found strength and inspiration by reading my journey towards healing, thank you.

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Our Trip To The Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center

This is it!  I’m going to see an oncologist, Dr. Samuel  Ang at the CGHMC.  He was the one who operated on my brother when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer six years ago.  (He is doing fine, has completely recovered after undergoing chemotherapy, thank God).

We left the house around 8am, a bus commute from Ortigas Ext. to Greenhills.  Thursday is a color-coding day for our car.  It was a smooth trip going to the hospital except for a slight traffic near the entrance of Manila North Cemetery. I actually saw two  funeral cars almost side by side entering one of the largest, if not the largest cemetery in Metro Manila.  The taxi driver commented that nowadays, it’s costly to bury the dead.  I agree, I think you need to pay a monthly tax/rent (usually done in public cemeteries) so you would be assured that your dead loved ones  would still be there on your next All Soul’s Day visit. Sigh!  You’re never assured of anything even in death.

Waiting is not one of my greatest virtues.  I must admit, sometimes, I find it hard to accept that I arrive on the dot if not earlier at the appointed place and time only to learn that the person I am waiting for comes late.  But I am digressing here again, okay, okay!  We arrived at the hospital at around 9:40am, not bad, considering that we live in Cainta and the hospital is in the heart of Metro Manila.

It was quite easy to locate Dr. Ang’s clinic, it’s at the ground floor of the new building at CGHMC.  His clinic hours begin at 12pm but there were already other patients who arrived ahead of us.  I am quite intrigued, alongside the doctors’ names are Chinese characters, maybe, they are the Chinese  equivalent of their Christian names.  Some of them were quite familiar to me, they were former Science students in UST.  Back when I was still working as a student librarian, I met lots of them at the library.  And I’m glad, really glad to learn that Dr. Samuel Ang is also a Thomasian like me.

Here I am, doing a draft of my blog while waiting.  Perhaps, you’ll agree that it is a more productive  pursuit than thinking of what the doctor will say when he sees the biopsy done on my colonoscopy.  There is a nice food shop at the hospital complex.  Chowking, Jollibee and Nathan’s.  Nathan’s have pork barbeque and grilled chicken.  I don’t want to eat such heavy meals this early so I opted to order breakfast at Jollibee – your typical half-cup of fried rice, meaty hotdog and poached egg with a tepid cup of brewed coffee.  Though I occasionally drink the brew, I like it hot so hubby requested for a new hot cup.

Oh yes, there’s the familiar cart of Fruitas (Fresh from Babot’s Farm kuno, it’s just a tag line, mind you).  I tried the Four Seasons, a combination of apple, carrots, mango and pineapple.  They call it Spring.  At P59 per 12oz. paper cup, it is reasonable enough.  There is a small grocery store called C-Mart, selling everything from bottled drinks, chichiria to baby and adult diapers.  There’s a cake shop too, how enterprising.

Meeting Dr. Samuel Ang

I finally met Dr. Samuel Ang, a general surgeon, a surgical oncologist and a Diplomate, American Board of Surgery.  I was impressed, he graduated Magna Cum Laude at the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.  He immediately gave a laboratory request for my brother when I mentioned that the latter was a former patient of his.  He personally called up my gastroenterologist and wrote a letter to my OB-Gynecologist thanking her for referring me to him.  He promised to give a discount on his professional fee because he understands the hardships patients go through when undergoing major surgeries like this.

And the verdict?  He will have to do a re-sectioning of my sigmoid colon, cut the 18 cm. portion affected by the sigmoid mass.  I need clearance from a cardiologist so he referred me to one, Dr. Alvin dela Cruz, another super-bait doctor at the hospital.  I need to complete the laboratory requirements before my scheduled surgery. and I thank God that I found a compassionate friend and doctor in my OB-Gynecologist, Dr. Ditas Decena (UST Hospital). Dr. Decena and I go back twenty years – that’s long enough for a patient-doctor relationship, don’t you think?  I am also thankful that she referred me to Dr. Samuel Ang. I know, with them around, I am in good hands.

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