Marrow transplant only hope for ex-call center agent
MANILA, Philippines — Before being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in June 2020, call center agent Lourdes Adonis was working from home as a precaution against COVID-19.
Her family, however, noticed that she looked exhausted and pale, with rashes rapidly spreading on her legs. A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy confirmed she had AML, a type of blood cancer in which the bone marrow produces abnormal white or red blood cells or platelets.
“During her first chemotherapy session, she was delirious. It got to a point where she asked me and our mother what her illness was even if she already knew that she had cancer,” said Kristine, her sister.
Despite the harsh side effects of chemotherapy, the cancer cells in Adonis’ body disappeared in November and doctors at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City declared that she was in remission.
But on Feb. 6, just five days before her 30th birthday, she suffered a relapse.
Her biopsy results showed the cancer had returned, this time more aggressively, and doctors said she must undergo a bone marrow transplant as soon as possible.
“We couldn’t believe it because she no longer showed any symptoms. Our mother cried and I wept while I was on my way home,” Kristine recalled.
Since Adonis’ readmission at NKTI, her family has spent over P200,000 for her medications alone, as vials for the FLAG-Ida protocol, a combination chemotherapy regimen, cost up to P10,000 each.
They have also shelled out P300,000 for one session of consolidation chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells. Only when she is back in remission will she be qualified for a bone marrow transplant.
“We do not know yet how many chemotherapy sessions she needs for her to undergo a transplant, since doctors said this would depend on her bone marrow biopsy,” Kristine said.
Her family, however, cannot afford the transplant which costs around P3.8 million. Both Adonis’ parents are retired while her two siblings are struggling to make ends meet. She resigned from her job last year because of her illness.
Donations can be made through Kristine’s Banco de Oro (BDO) account no. 0027-2022-2883. Those who want to contact her may call 0917-5100727.
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