What will you feel if you find out that you have only few months to live?
I am Ramed R. Borja – a Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor (PNet) warrior from the Philippines.
What is PNet? It is a rare type of pancreas cancer. Steve Jobs of Apple & Prince Sultan of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – are some of the victims of this cancer.
My wife Maria Judith Borja, asked me to chronicle my cancer journey. I am doing this blog out of my love for her and also to share my PNet journey to the world.
When I was diagnosed last February 3, 2015, I was shocked.
Dr. Wael Kattan, a Saudi doctor from Dr. Habib Hospital in Riyadh, KSA broke the news: “The biopsy is out, its cancer.” Kind of slap on your face breaking news update. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the candidness, but I was not prepared for it.
My wife should have not cried if the Jordanian nurse did not put a box of tissue in front of her. Maybe they were use to this type of convo and they know the sequence of events.
As we drove home, I felt numbness on my body. So many questions and I can’t find answers. I was not able to speak for few days. Thankful that my wife was beside that time.
Before the diagnosis, there were symptoms.
I do love my job in the retail industry but the stress at work will get a toll on you. The nature of my work entails travel in the Gulf Cooperating Countries (GCC) of the Middle East. I was incharge of marketing for the largest computerstore in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and also for the branches in Qatar, Kuwait & United Arab Emirates.
I came from a business trip in Qatar when I noticed a combo of nausea and constipation for several days. I felt fatigue just putting my pants & longsleeves. Putting a single step on stairs was hard. Moving an inch was tiresome.
I pushed myself to go to the hospital.
Lo & behold, my hemoglobin dropped to 6 – normal male is 12-14. Internal hemorrhage in the digestive tract. Panic mode in the hospital, rushed to the emergency then to the ICU. Six bags of fresh Arabic blood transfused to my chubby nerves.
My hemoglobin was stabilized at 11 but I have on & off fever for few more days. Doctors investigated and found out from a CT scan that I have a tumor on the ampula of my pancreas.
It was the start of the Battle of Nutella.