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Support Breast Cancer patients opting for holistic care

May 1, 2012

If you ever find yourself reading my blog, you are either a daughter, a mother, a husband or a friend of someone who have Cancer or have tooth decay or suspected to have mercury intoxication.

Some of us try to find a cure for our own illnesses or someone close to us who have a disease. PBCN cares for strangers, people whom they do not know, but have a special connection (touched by Breast cancer or other forms of cancer).

I am so sad to know that PBCN (Philippine Breast Cancer Network) lost their rights to use the facilities at Tiaong Breast Haven.. about 11 years ago, the owner of the lot allowed them to build the haven for breast cancer patients who opted for holistic treatment.

It was an the ideal place for someone who wants to do a detox.. as it is OFF-GRID, therefore you are not just detoxing from bad food, bad water and bad air, but also from bad EMFs (coming from high voltage power lines, TV, computer, mobile phones and telco towers). The haven’s electricity and water supply is built as green and ecological as possible. The huts are also made from non-toxic native materials. Its a real haven for a tired city dweller like me.

But now the lot owner does not allow them to operate there. All is not lost though, as PBCN still continue their advocacy through Home based Holistic care program. You see, if they are just in it for the money, they could have charged us thousands of dollars, and would be able to buy their own place. The thing is, they even dig deep into their own pockets to support patients who cannot even pay for program (which is only about $500~ $800 sgd today).

The photos below were taken 2 years ago at the once was Tiaong Breast Haven

Zarah celebrated her 4th year birthday at Tiaong Breast Cancer Haven while Nanay and were going through the breast care program

As you can see PBCN, takes care of the caregivers of the patient and the rest of the family too. If you have ever been touched by cancer, you know that cancer eats away on each member of the family—> with the kids being the last to know and the last to understand the significance of risking losing a loved one.. but is the one who is severely impacted. When a mother, or a grandmother is hit by cancer, it impacts the quality of life of the whole family. Conventional doctors, only take care of the patient==> and ignores the importance of taking care of the whole family. The patient’s well being actually depends on the psychological well being of the primary caregiver as well as the secondary caregiver and the rest of the family. All the more, if a patient prefers holistic care, the family have to buy in 100%, otherwise the whole program will fail and the patient will end up as another “alternative cancer gone wrong story”. The success of holistic care depends on the family’s full support of the program. The family members have to make adjustments for the patient ==> from diet, environment and overall lifestyle…and for good reasons.. this is also cancer prevention for each and every member of the family. My daughter have been a shining beacon of hope and an inspiration for my mother to keep fighting her breast cancer. I am a single mother, so she can not bear the thought of dying early and leaving both of us, while my daughter is still very young. We have been teaching my daughter to live as healthy and as environmentally conscious as possible. These photos will remind her how she has been part of my mother’s breast cancer journey from the start.

4th from left (center) is me (Lanie), Nanay, my Tita Lita. the others are other patients and staff of Tiaong Breast Cancer Haven and PBCN (March 2010)

The nun beside me (left side on the group photo) is also a breast cancer patient, but she did not opt for mastectomy. At the time she was under the care of PBCN she had no money. PBCN still treated her like any other paying customer.

For me this is a testament of PBCN’s dedication to their advocacy. It gives me some level of peace of mind, that they are not doing this for the money. That if let us say, I go bankcrupt (fingers crossed!), that I could run to them and get help.

Most Asian mothers, work full-time and also work at home, for example when we were younger, my mother would wash our clothes at 6am, go to work from 8am to 5pm, and then prepare our dinner and our school lunches at night. She would also sew our clothes. Aside from that she makes sure that everything in the house is in order. For most Filipino households, the husband will either be drinking with their friends or have their feet propped up while watching TV. Imagine if a younger mother is hit by breast cancer, taking care of her children, having a full time work –> while tolerating a good for nothing husband…she would probably just continue trying to do what she knows best to do, instead of dropping everything else to take care of herself. My mother is like that, I literally have to beg her to stop working in the house. PBCN comes in to intervene and help to stop this vicious cycle, during the 7 day program. They take care of the patient and educate each family members including the good for nothing husband. (sorry for the strong words. but I really feel so strongly against husbands who neglect and abuse their wife… and this goes not only for Filipino husbands but all good for nothing husbands in general… disclaimer: if you are reading my blog, you are probably not a good for nothing husband, but rather a good husband==> kudos to you!) Therefore, it also helps to resolve some of our societal issues. This will have a domino effect, sons of breast cancer mothers, will know how to treat their wives well, while the daughters will know how to take care of herself first and foremost, by respecting herself well enough not to be battered. I could go on and on about how unfair it is to live in a Third World country like the Philippines.

I am blessed to having the opportunity to work and live in a developed country like Singapore..(and probably staying single instead of being married to a good for nothing husband).. where I can be more in control of reducing environmental risks around me and my family. In the Philippines, its just so much harder.. educating women is about the dangers of environmental toxins is sometimes even remotely impossible due to their household situations and marital issues.

Refer to the detailed blog entry here

and here

Danilo “Danny” Meneses runs the Philippine Breast Cancer Network (PBCN). Danny’s wife, Rosa, started PBCN after she discovered she had breast cancer. When she died, Danny continued the work of PBCN almost single-handedly. Christy Sibonga a Nurse, also became the pillar of PBCN.

PBCN has plenty of friends. However, in order to continue with its advocacy and its service to breast cancer victims and their families, PBCN also needs financial support. So please share this note to who you know would be interested to fund advocacy and better care for breast cancer victims in the Philippines. Post it on your Facebook wall or your blog if you cant send monetary donation.. someone else could. There are already lots of charity organisations asking for donation for breast cancer research, but the money does not directly aleviate the pains of breast cancer families. If you want to help cancer patients and their families who opt for holistic treatment (either because they have given up on conventional treatments or want to complemennt their conventional treatment with holistic care), sponsor their home care program via PBCN. As you know, holistic care is not covered by insurance, so most cancer families who even want to remotely consider holistic care, get discouraged as it is not covered by insurance.

I’m reprinting here a recent post by Danny in the latest letter from PBCN, testimonies of women and their loved ones:

Lanie Francisco, 34 ( Singapore ): Your advocacy is really noble. Your wisdom unparalleled by any doctor (surgeon, oncologist, radiologist we have met). Although they may be intelligent and well-meaning, they have lost the wisdom of using their heart and spirit to guide breast cancer patients like my mother. The first two days seemed to be very slow but Zarah (my 4-yr old daughter), Nanay, Tita Lita and myself really enjoyed every minute of it. The next three days then seemingly became too fast because of the thought of leaving you and Tiaong Breast Haven. This experience also helped all of us to see beyond the hopelessness and despair it brought to my family. It gave me a respite from the responsibility of being the only “rock” in my family. Somehow as a caregiver, it lightened my load – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Hindi yung parang ako na lagi ang nagbibigay ng lakas ng loob….dahil madalas pinanghihinaan din ako ng loob, pero di ko magawa…dahil ako lang ang inaasahan. You have validated not only my fear of what chemo and radiation therapies would do to my mother – but you have also confirmed all of my prior research that there SHOULD BE A BETTER AND MORE DIGNIFIED WAY OF LIVING THROUGH CANCER. You did not raise false hope that we will be cured – but you kindled another kind of hope – hope that my mother can age more gracefully and live with a better quality of life….maybe even better than before she had cancer. As Zarah says every morning when she wakes up, sitting in the veranda facing the mountain,

“Thank You Jesus for the sun,

“ “ “ “ “ trees,

“ “ “ “ “ birds,

“ “ “ “ “ buko nuts,

“ “ “ “ Tito Danny,

“ “ “ “ Ate Cristy,

“ “ “ “ Nanay, Tita Lola and Mommy.

And from me & Nanay, Thank You Jesus for the PBCN.

Charito Bautista, 46 (Lipa, Batangas): “No words can describe how I feel today. Tatay Danny and Cristy have taught me how to fight my breast cancer. There are times that I want to give up but when I stay here, I know I’m going to be fine. It was not only my health that improved but also my faith in God – that He never left me. Thank you very much for all the things you’ve shared with me and for all the efforts you’ve given to me. I’ll surely miss Tatay Danny and Cristy. With you guys, ang sarap mabuhay!”

Rosalie Gerarcas, 34 (Imus, Cavite ) : “Staying with the BCN for a week really helped a lot with my health condition. Danny and Cristy are like walking breast cancer encyclopedias. I learned a lot not just about breast cancer but also about how to prevent having a deadly disease. They are very accommodating and never failed to answer every single question I asked. Our country is blessed having the PBCN and having Mr. Danny Meneses and Ms. Cristy as its key persons. Our women are blessed having them. I thank Danny and Cristy wth all my being. They are our womens’ Angels in Disguise!”

Atty Rose Casiguran, 57 ( Muntinlupa City ): “Firstly, I thank God for giving both of you as gifts/blessings to mankind, more particularly to Filipino women and their families. Your sacrifices will have their rewards. God knows how much you touch lives. Coming for a 6-day nature retreat is the best thing I’ve rewarded myself after I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer. The solitude and the natural retreat are God’s ways of effectively telling me that He has given me the “solution” and response to this trial. I know all along that God brought me to you as indeed it has been easy for me to schedule this “retreat.” Thank you so much for the personal time, efforts and sharing of knowledge and experiences. I pray that I could reward you more by passionately joining your advocacy in addition to pursuing the simple life breast cancer patients should do after the “nature” retreat with you. This is not goodbye. This is the beginning of a relationship that God wants us to do for others. I pray for your continued health, peace and joy that this mission will be carried through for generations to come. Isn’t it wonderful to live simple lives amidst technology? God bless you and your loved ones!”

Atty Belen Pates, 55 (Iligan City, Lanao del Norte): “ I came here with a bias that you would force me to undergo something like a sect (cult), that you would be our masters and salvation, and that without you, we could not exist. I was so adamant against coming here and in fact, already arranged for the mastectomy of my right breast in Iligan City . My husband and daughter (both in Chicago) were alarmed and concerned because the technology in Iligan City is jurassic. They were persistent so I heeded to them. So I came to Manila to travel to Tiaong with my son who filed a leave from his work. I also insisted for him to detox with me. When we arrived at the municipal hall, there was the vehicle with Philippine Breast Cancer Network printed on both sides. I was thinking then of the scenario of “taken” and “kidnapped” as in movies and books. I was ready for the worst. But the methods done here is akin to the philosophy of non-invasive, no force foreign to pollute my mind. At least physically, I did detox and my mind imbibing on the rural scenery, the lush trees, chirping of the birds, mountains taunting you with breast-like shapes. This is the detox of the mind, the soothing coolness of the morning air and the slow caress of sunlight. My queries on breast cancer were addressed in the videos and discussions. I was surprised that my son and I had no adverse and violent reactions to the detox protocol. At first we were wakened but every morning, we really felt super rested. Thanks Dan & Cristy, am going home equipped with tools in handling this challenge. Love you.”

Mary Alexis Salinas , 56 ( Marikina City ): “Thank you for your concern, dedication and commitment to women journeying to healing and empowerment. My husband and children have been my “cheering squad” since the discovery of my lump – searching for therapies and treatment and my decision for a lumpectomy on May 2nd. We accepted and faced the positive diagnosis with faith and courage. God led me to the PBCN via internet, providing me with hope – a concrete support for my decision not to undergo radiation and removal of my lymph nodes as prescribed by the surgeon. I thank God for your mission and your efforts to free women from fear, guiding us towards peace and joy. I leave fully blessed by your presence, friendship and generosity in sharing information. My husband and children join me in saluting you and wish you more power not only in providing a therapy for treating breast cancer but in working to prevent breast cancer. That way, the PBCN may someday be known also as Philippine Breast Care Network.”

Bernie de Jesus, 61 ( Marikina City , M.M.) : “It was very educational for me and my husband, having stayed here even for the very short 5 days. I have never been exposed before about the intricacies of breast cancer – the causes, the prevention, the remedies. All I know is that there are so many people with breast cancer and chemotherapy is the only option they have. All I knew before about going to Tiaong was that it was a place where you’d get a detoxification regimen and that it will be generally good for the body. What I found was two people dedicating their lives to an advocacy much needed in the present world. Danny and Cristy have so much to share to our present careless world, irresponsible world, material world. Their advocacy is much needed considering the many innocent women suffering from breast cancer with no idea at all how they got it and how it can be prevented for the sake of their daughters, granddaughters, neighbors and friends. And more importantly, the PBCN offers an alternative in tackling breast cancer. We found hope that that there are healthy options to a good life, on how to look at life and ways to live life without feeling deprived of what this world has to offer. I trust Danny and Cristy and what the PBCN stands for. I hope I’d find some way to advance their advocacy, God willing. A toast to you, Rosa for having bravely started the PBCN.”

Wilma Bocaya, 50 ( Antipolo City ) : “I am very thankful that there is such a thing as the PBCN. I am very impressed with your advocacy. My stay was truly fruitful – I am feeling totally different. A lot better, definitely! I hope to be able to share this experience with others, especially the information that you have shared with us. They have changed my outlook on health – actually changed my life! I hope to be back, not as a breast cancer patient but to experience again this wonderful “break” (from corporate life). Maraming, maraming salamat po!”

Bing Bacolod , 45 (Las Pinas, M.M.): “What a wonderful journey! God is really good because He brought me to you guys!!! You are such a big help to cancer patients like me, who will really cling and grasp on anything just to win over this disease. Your knowledge, skills, affection and advocacy came into my life just when I needed it most. Don’t give up the advocacy! We need it to sustain our journey! Your new warrior.”

Angie Pasumbal, 46 (Lucena, Quezon), : “ This detox experience with the PBCN is quite unforgettable for me. Though I’m a vegetarian and love veg juices, 5 days without solid food is my first. I was afraid at first because I read in a book that cancer patients should not extend liquid fasting for more than a day. But I gave my full trust in Sir Danny and Miss Cristy and prayed to the Lord that He guide them to help me cope with hunger. I now feel truly empowered and my confidence in fighting against cancer is high. The discussions with Sir Danny, Ms. Cristy and my fellow cancer patients – Ms. Lyn opened my eyes to the real world of coping with my illness. Their knowledge is of great help as I will try to influence my family and friends to a healthier lifestyle. Really, cancer does not scare me anymore! The place and situation, being free from an unhealthy environment is a great opportunity to refresh the soul, God being the Greatest Physician. I salute your dedication and commitment to help patients and pray that I can be with you in your advocacy for a better and healthier Philippines in the near future. Thanks much and more power!”

Nitz Idica, 59 ( Novaliches , QC ) : “Perhaps you, yourselves cannot fathom the depth your help, care and concern has affected my husband and I. In a few days, you have turned our feeling of a death sentence and despair into an enlightened new life that there are options that are kinder to the body, mind and spirit. We are now lighter (in all sense of the word) and happier in the company of our family., especially our beloved children.”

Nimfa Kho, 49 (Cagayan de Oro): “I arrived here at Tiaong Breast Haven on a late afternoon of a Holy Wednesday and I instantly loved the place. Peace and quiet and fresh air – its’s the perfect hideaway for the tired, confused and weary breast cancer warrior. What a wonderful place to cleanse the mind, the body and the spirit. The mountain on the side of the room assigned to me served as a mighty symbol of strength and protection. It made me feel safe and hopeful. I enjoyed so much my short trek to that space on that mountain for my morning sunbathing. Communing with nature here in TBH is something I didn’t expect to experience. To Danny – Thank you for the insights, advices, and inspiration which I need so much. It’s been a confusing and sometimes fearful journey fighting the breast cancer war. Many times I feel tired putting up the brave front but I know I have to be brave. Kudos to you for this advocacy to help and empower women afflicted with this malady. You just don’t know how tremendously you are giving hope and understanding, thus giving us more reason to wage the battle, this time with much honor and dignity. To Cristy – You’ve been such a gentle and kind soul. A balm to my tired body and soul. I cannot thank you enough for being so kind, patient and caring. I hope you’ll still take care of me if ever I get the chance to come back here – that is if you will still allow me. I am thankful to God Almighty for leading me to this place. I will never forget TBH for it has offered me another view of the whole picture, something that will be a powerful aid in battling this disease. I praise God, too fr giving me the chance to know Danny and Cristy because they’ve been friendly, warm and helpful. All the more making TBH a home for Breast Cancer victims, even far from our homes. I really feel so at home here. The beautiful sight of nature that surrounds the place makes for a very invigorating, soul-enriching and heavenly sent gift to breast cancer warriors. Even the symphony of the sound of distant hooting of he owl, chirping of birds and crickets and other creatures are all music to our ears, soothing our body as well. Such a perfect place to undergo intensive internal cleansing because we can also relax and unwind and forget all our cares, even for just 6 days. Keep up the good work! To the late Rosa Meneses, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the inspiration!!!

If you need more information about PBCN, contact Danny at “Philippine Breast Cancer Network”

http://www.pbcn.org

You can also search for Philippine Breast Cancer Network in Facebook.

They have not given up, even if they do not have a haven anymore.. they still continue their work by offering Home based care program (they offer the same program at home)…

Each patient have to fork out P15,000 – P20,000 pesos per week to learn how to do coffee enema and also to get support from the initial week of the 42 day Breuss juice feasting (meaning they only drink nothing but alkalaizing breuss juice and turmeric tea for 42 days and also have coffee enema 2x a day. They also get educated on how to take care of themselves, their daughters, and other women in their family and community.

Some women cannot afford to fork out P15,000 -P20,000 pesos (($500 ~$800 sgd) to sign-up for the program… and in these dire circumstances, PBCN have to dig deep from their own pockets to take care of this women.

If you want to support PBCN or 1 patient of PBCN… please visit http://www.pbcn.org or search for Philippine Breast Cancer Network on Facebook.

You can also just share this article on your Facebook wall, Twitter or your blog. If you cant donate money, someone else could.

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