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Posted 2016-09-23T14:52:00Z

9/23/16 - Doctor: You Have One Month To Live

Hello everyone, aside from my first post, this was my most hardest post to write, because with it comes the most difficult news.

Last time I shared, I was hoping to get onto a clinical trial, but my liver numbers were too elevated. I drank lots of water, retook the test on Friday 9/16, and still had no luck as my numbers (AST and ALT) although significantly improved, were still not within threshold.

Background - Sunday 9/18
Morning - Severe Shortness of Breath: Over the weekend, the hydration continued, but on Sunday I was severely short of breath. I was at church, in the back, and had to step outside because I was feeling extremely dizzy. Even leaning against the column outside with the breeze I was close to passing out, which was difficult to understand because I hadn't done anything remotely intense. It took tremendous effort and a very slow pace just to get back to the car. This was the day before I was supposed to take the test again to get on the clinical trial. I was thinking to myself, "Even if I get on the trial, how will this fix my shortness of breath?"

Evening - Jaundice and Lung Blood Clot: After watching the (horrible) Seahawks game, while riding in the passenger seat because I was still dizzy and short of breath, I looked in the mirror and discovered my eyes were turning yellow, a sign of jaundice and liver failure. I called the Fellow to consult with whether I should go into the ER all things considered, and because I was also coughing up blood on that previous Thursday, they wanted me to get checked out to verify I didn't have a blood clot in my lungs which may be a cause of the shortness of breath.

Night - Emergency Room: We arrived at UW ER Sunday night around 9pm. They provided me with some oxygen, and ran some tests. I requested they test my liver function so I wouldn't have to go into SCCA in the morning, which they did, along with doing another CT scan. The CT scan came back okay with no blood clot in the lungs, and my condition improved after being on the oxygen. They released me, and shared my results with SCCA, suggesting I call them in the morning to find the results.


Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Visit - Monday 9/19
Phone Call With The Nurse: I called my nurse at SCCA to inform her of what happened over the weekend, but she was well aware of the events, as the UW ER sent them a note. My nurse said that they did get the test results back, and they wanted me to come in to meet with my Oncologist in the afternoon, that I don't need to get a blood draw, and to make sure to bring my wife with me to the appointment.

This set off a number of red flags, especially the fact that I'll be meeting with my oncologist on a Monday, because he does not have clinic on Mondays, and it's never a good sign when they say to make sure that your wife is with you. Looking back over the past week, I knew my body was deteriorating, and had even looked up liver failure a number of times.

Meeting with Oncologist: We walk into SCCA around 1:45pm and my Oncologist arrives at the same time through the front doors, confirming that he still does not have clinic on Mondays, and we ride the elevators up quietly together. We walk into the room and he later enters to give me the news.

While the liver numbers that were originally elevated preventing me from getting on the clinical trial are now within acceptable range, another much more critical number is now elevated beyond normal, my Bilirubin. This means my liver is no longer functioning at a safe level, and any introduction of chemicals through clinical trials or even standard chemo will do more harm than good. This is because the liver is required to filter out the toxins that would be poisonous to the body that is received in the chemo, but if the liver can't do that, the unfiltered toxins will end up causing more problems than benefits.

Hospice Care: After my doctor told me my liver was no longer functioning, I knew what he was going to say next and I dreaded the moment that this would come. I always expected this time would come, but was hoping it wouldn't be until much later.

My doctor said that this was now the time to be focusing on the quality of my remaining life, and the best way to do that was through Hospice Care. Hospice Care was founded by Filipino-American Dr. Josefina Magno who dealt with many cancer deaths in her family including her husband and son. Hospice focuses on comfort for my last few weeks and days, by providing care for me at home, and medications to keep me at ease. It includes a team consisting of a social worker, nurse, nurse's assistant, chaplain, and other services that come to the house to help care for me. Although I wasn't surprised that this is the situation I would end up, I was saddened that it happened much sooner than I had hoped.


Prognosis and Disease Progression
Prognosis: I asked my doctor the standard difficult question that I always ask. The doctor said that given my current condition and liver progression over the past few weeks, he would be surprised if I lasted more than a couple months, and the fact is my time remaining is likely closer to one month.

Disease Progression: As my liver continues to shut down, my body and eyes will become more yellow from the bile. As the toxins increase, I may become irritable, extremely bloated, agitated, confused, itchy, and once it gets to a certain level where the medicines cannot extract the ammonia from my body, I will fall into a coma. Luckily, my doctor said that I will pass peacefully after falling into the coma, so the transition will at least be easy.


In Conclusion
I'm compiling my final thoughts to post and will share them later. Again, although this is disappointing news, I will continue to remain positive, to hopeful, and strong, and I hope you do too. Thanks again for reading, and I wish you all the best.

- Jerome

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Comments (59)

  • Jonas Amos
    Jonas Amos

    im having a hard time writing anything down here. just know that i, and many many others I'm sure, love you and admire you for your courage through all of this.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Gemma Tjeerdsma
    Gemma Tjeerdsma

    Jerome, I am saddened as I read this. I am praying for you! That God will touch you and heal your body. There is power in prayer! God bless you more!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Anna Leung
    Anna Leung

    Jerome, you're the strongest and bravest person that we know. We are so thankful for having you in our lives and you are such an inspiration to us. We love you so much. <3

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Darlene M Law
    Darlene M Law

    Jerome, I have only met you a few times through Anna but I wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and your family. I admire your strength and courage during this difficult time. You and your family are in my thoughts.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Marilee Byers
    Marilee Byers

    Jerome, I'm sure this post was hard to write. Thank you for continuing to take us on this journey with you.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Tony Vo
    Tony Vo

    I love you man, you will always be my bro. Thank you for being such a great friend I could always rely on you, we will be there for you and the family.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • laricel cambronero
    laricel cambronero

    Stay strong and brave, friend. You have our continued love, prayers and support.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Mariflor Jin
    Mariflor Jin

    Not the type of post I wanted to ever read from you. Tears are falling and my heart hurts, but you've remained positive, so I will remain positive and continue to pray for you and to pray for a miracle. Keep fighting, Jerome. We love you, Sam, & Caleb.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Molly Akers
    Molly Akers

    Jerome, I was forwarded this message and I am overcome with emotion. I know your faith has always been important to you. Knowing you will rest easy in heaven with our Father and be there watching over your family gives us all comfort. Prayers for you, and your beautiful family are in progress and will continue. God bless you and may you have his peace... Warmly, Molly Akers

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Dawn Liburd
    Dawn Liburd

    Jerome, words cannot begin to express how PROUD I am of you. I have learned so much from you and continue to be amazed and inspired by you each day. You have touched so many of our lives and for that I thank you. God speed and I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers...

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Jamal Willis
    Jamal Willis

    Jimenez, you're amazing and one of a kind. Know that you have always had a place in our hearts and will continue to, forever.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Kailee Schrift
    Kailee Schrift

    Jerome, I have only met you maybe a few times, but since then I have followed you on this journey. Your cousin Julieanne has kept me updated, and just know that my prayers have been made for you everyday, and I will continue to pray for you and think positive things for you. You are an inspiration and I have nothing but positive hopes and prayers for you and your family.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Lindsey Baumker
    Lindsey Baumker

    You have been such an inspiration, Jerome. Your positivity and strength throughout this fight has been truly amazing, and I thank you for sharing this journey with all of us. We will be keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Kevin Nguyen
    Kevin Nguyen

    Jerome, the two of us are just acquaintances but you've always stood out to me as being a very genuine and driven individual. I know you fought hard and I hope you continue to stay positive. You're surrounded by many friends and family who love you dearly. You and your family are in my thoughts. I'm here fighting right with you man.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Kim
    Kim

    "Continue to remain positive, hopeful, and strong" <3 You are an amazing person.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • karla mola
    karla mola

    this is the first time reading any of these and my heart is saddened to hear you andyour family have been dealing with so much and im almost at a loss for words. Although i dont know you well, i have known you, been aquaintences since middle school/high school days and it was always just a pleasure to see you, you were always smiling, happy and just an over all pleasant and genuwine person to be around. My heart goes out to you, and your loved ones. Stay strong, you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • karla mola
    karla mola

    Jerome, this is the first i have read any of your posts, and im at a loss for words. Im saddened to read all that you have been going through and my heart goes out to you and your family. Although i didnt know you well, i have known you, been aquintences with, since middle school/high school days. you were always smiling, and happy and overall such a pleasent and geunwine person to be around. Im so sorry this is happening to such a good person, but enlightened to see your staying strong with all of it. i will keep you and your family in my thoughts and have many prayers sent out for you....take care Jerome, its been a pleasure.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Diane King-Mendoza
    Diane King-Mendoza

    Reading this got me choked up. I know I'm not as close of a friend to you as many others are, but I definitely feel like I've gotten to know you so well over the years. I'm so grateful to know someone as awesome, kind, strong and brave as you. As always, we are thinking of you, Sam and Caleb. Live and love every moment <3

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Charmaine felix
    Charmaine felix

    Words cannot express the sadness that I feel for you, Sam and Caleb as I read this post. I'll continue to pray for you and your family. You have lots of support in family and friends that love you. I'm here if you guys need anything.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Michelle Lenssen
    Michelle Lenssen

    Hi Jerome, I know we have only worked together once, but even that one time I could sense the strength and positive energy you have. Thank you for sharing your journey with everyone and my thoughts are with you and your family.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Johanna Abafo
    Johanna Abafo

    Please know that you are truly an amazing person!! As much as it breaks my heart to read this I remain positive for you and your family and am continuing to pray for you guys always! I really do look up to you for your strength and positivity through out this whole ordeal. Even though we were never really close please know that you are an inspiration and have touched soo many lives with your beautiful soul! God bless you!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • JJ Delacruz
    JJ Delacruz

    Stay strong and enjoy the love of your friends and family. I'm wishing you, Sam, and the family all the best. You are an inspiration and I truly admire your perseverance through this fight. It's not over yet, so be strong and keep on fighting! Thoughts, prayers, positive vibes, and much love..

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Desirea Navarro
    Desirea Navarro

    My heart is breaking, this brings me to tears. You are so brace and so strong for sharing your thoughts. The Maytone's are praying for you! You and your beautiful family are in our thoughts.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Kate English
    Kate English

    Jerome, I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Aileen Gurat
    Aileen Gurat

    my heart is heavy from this news...prayers and positive thoughts to you and your family. As I think of the words to say, I think of back in the day when we first hung out at my 16th or 17th bday, u with bleach blonde hair, high school shenanigans, Best Buy blue shirts, and always a smile on ur face. Thank you for being part of my memories growing up. Sharing your journey has helped many and helped us walk with you in prayer. Please reach out if ever need to everyone is here for you always.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Jasmin Lopez
    Jasmin Lopez

    Jerome- From time to time our families see each other at church. We pray for your health and the family. I pray that God's love covers you and your family during this time. Always, Jasmin Lopez-Nguyen

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Chris McElroy
    Chris McElroy

    This is so hard to hear, and hard to know what to say. You and Sam and Caleb are so well loved. Your openness, positivity and strength is inspiring! Love u guys!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Dave and Cat Hall
    Dave and Cat Hall

    Jerome - we are thinking of you. Sending love and good thoughts your way. Hugs from Tita Terry, Tito Dave, Rachel and Lindsey.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Gerard Morisseau
    Gerard Morisseau

    Jerome, this was so hard to read. You are one of the most amazing and remarkable person I ever met or had the honor to work with. I cannot imagine the courage it must take to write this post. Thank you for sharing this most personal journey with us. You are in our prayers and thoughts. Stay positive.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Joshua Taton
    Joshua Taton

    This is heartbreaking. You were one of my first friends in high school. I know we never really kept in touch but I was kept up to date though fb and this is something I hoped I would never see. Thoughts and prayers to you and all of your loved ones. Take care homie

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Mudit
    Mudit

    Jerome, you are a true fighter and source of inspiration for all us. I am honored that I got an opportunity to work and know you. Your positivity throughout this fight has been truly amazing, we all thank you for sharing this journey with us. We all are praying for you and your family during this difficult time. We all are very proud of you.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • James henrie
    James henrie

    Jerome, you dont have to die like this. If you are a true fighter, watch a documentary called (healing cancer from the inside out) by Mike Anderson. This is completely reversible and all you need is a juicer and the will to live. Doctors CANNOT save you from our toxic society and the food we put in our body. It is up to us to educate ourselfs and to understand the bodies amazing healing power. It will take a lot of work and sacrifice to heal yourself but is it worth it??? Message me if you have any questions. Good luck

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Kimberly Pabillon
    Kimberly Pabillon

    Jerome...I have read your journey throughout. And today reading this, this is heavy news. I am so sorry for what you're going through. You are such a strong individual. And you sharing your journey has been so inspiring. Thank you. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, Sam and Caleb. I know this is a difficult time for you and your family but you are a remarkable person. Stay positive. God and his love will always be by your side.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Mary
    Mary

    I may not know you but I could intensely feel the courage you have knowing your end is coming so near. I admire your strength throughout your struggle. Reading your story made me cry. I remembered all the family members we lost to Cancer and until now we have very little chance in fighting cancer. I pray that the Lord heals you and give you peace specially your family. Be strong my brother 😓

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Melba Corpuz
    Melba Corpuz

    Hi Jerome, What an inspiration...you are a man with conviction, courage and strong faith to hold on and stay positive despite of your situation. Often times we don't understand what God's plan for us....but reading your testimony...you never questioned Him...I admire you so dearly...you are indeed an inspiration to us all...My prayers and may God continue to bless you and your loving family as you continue go through this cross road of your life.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Nicole Castillo
    Nicole Castillo

    Words can't express how saddened I am by reading this & can't begin to imagine what you, Sam & your family are experiencing right now. Your strength is inspiring & your faith is admirable. I will always remember you as my debut partner who had those "suave" moves-- your smile & humor is definitely contagious. Thank you for sharing your personal journey with us, I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers to St. Peregrine.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Ce'Nedra Martin
    Ce'Nedra Martin

    I'm praying for you. You're strength touches my soul. Please look into St. Faustina's prayer.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Bely Luu
    Bely Luu

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your courage, charisma and positivity are so inspiring! Im so happy to have met you and your lovely family. Sending you lots of hugs, love and support from the Hwang family.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Tanya Lam
    Tanya Lam

    Hi Jerome, I don't know you, but I have to say that you are an incredible soul and may God heal you and watch over your family. You have so much love and support. The Lam family will be praying for you and your family. Tanya

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Maria Villanueva
    Maria Villanueva

    God bless you always Jerome. Your strength and courage are admirable. I will continue praying for healing and comfort for you and Sam, Caleb, and your family. High school and college were a blast! Your big contagious smile will forever be in my memories. Big hugs!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Chrystal canero
    Chrystal canero

    Jerome, when Laricel told me about your news this morning my heart automatically felt heavy. I am deeply saddened by what you and your family are going through. Although, I don't know you that well I see you as very kind, successful, a loving father and husband, an inspiration to all. It's not fair that the good ones have to go too early. Keep fighting! Stay strong! You, Sam, & Caleb are in my prayers and thoughts!! ❤️

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Angela Guernsey
    Angela Guernsey

    Jerome, I don't know you very well personally, but I have great things about you. I am saddened to hear you and your family are having to take this tough path. You are all in my prayers.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Serrah Stambaugh
    Serrah Stambaugh

    Jerome I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Your story is very inspiring in displaying hope in the human spirit. I pray that the Lord will heal your body, mind, and spirit and give you peace and comfort. Love to you and your family and God Bless Always <3

    4 years ago · Reply
  • John Park
    John Park

    Jerome. We have not met before but my heart is heavy and my prayer goes out to you and your family. Someday, we will all be joining you in heaven really soon. Just get that place ready for rest of us. Don't worry. Let's keep our trust in our good Lord. Love you as a brother in Christ.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Vanessa Arquillano
    Vanessa Arquillano

    Dear Jerome, While we are strangers, your posts have been transparent to feel as if I'm a distant cousin making sure you're doing okay. I want to say this- through this journey of hardship and pain, you have been able to truly experience life's blessings through family, friends, and all that has been tried and true to you. None of us know the hour in which God will call us home, nor the means of it. May the rest of your earthly time be filled with overflowing grace and love for one another. For when all of us pass, we most wish for those we leave behind to know how much life was worth the struggle because we lived with them, because we were blessed to love them. My love and prayers to you and yours. Thank you for sharing your story.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Julia king
    Julia king

    Please do not let anyone give you an exit date! Get Dr. Richard Schultz,s 'Incurables Progam'... He is a herbalist. He has liver detoxs! Hang in there... Try just to drink green organic juices! You can heal! Blessings to you!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Sarah Childs
    Sarah Childs

    I don't know you, Jerome but I saw your story on a friend's page. I am so sorry you & your family have to go through this. I lost my husband to cancer in 2009. My children were 2 & 4 so your story resonates with me very much. I will keep you & your family in prayer. I pray that God heals your body completely. God bless you!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Yuyu Lin
    Yuyu Lin

    Jerome, your are truly inspiration to all the people who are fortunate to know you! It breaks my heart what you and your family are going through...I want to let you know I continue keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers! Sending all the positive energy and vides to you and your family!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • RT Davis
    RT Davis

    I scrolled upon your story on FB and became intriqued by the title. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you/your family to process and accept your fate. As I continued to read, I became overwhelmed with emotion! These kinds of things are not suppose to happen to young, vibrant adults in their prime. May God grant you and your family the most intimate, quality time together possible. May you experience feelings of immense love, kindness, and peace as the days pass. May your loved ones wrap their arms around you; finding comfort/peace in every spoken word, experience, and/or memory you all have shared. Please know that you deciding to share this journey connects you to your readers. I am confident you/your family will be in each of our thoughts and prayers. May God bless you and keep you! May He be pleased with the work you have, lives you have touched, and even more pleased with your soul. Signed, Extremely Touched

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Katherine
    Katherine

    May I say that I feel honored to have read your journey today because of your spirit, Jerome. I will remember you & your family always. In my son-in-laws last months he went to build-a-bear & picked out a favorite animal for his 3 & 5 year old children. He recorded a short simple message to each of them, using their nicknames & said he loved them. Today they are 10 & 12 and thes animals with messages in their dad's voice is their treasure. He also shared with me and others his hopes for the children & what he saw as their strengths. Last year I made a photo book for each of them of moments caught on camera & they relived memories with him. Blessings 🙏🏻

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Charity Miller
    Charity Miller

    Jerome and family, I don't know you, but a friend posted your story on FB. I commend your strength and bravery during these tough times. My dearest grandmother lost her fight with cancer three weeks ago, and it was the hardest battle I've seen anyone face; for her, for my grandfather, and all of our family. Stay strong and keep finding the joy in your life. God will take care of the rest! My prayers go out to you and your family! Peace be with you and yours!!!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Meera Venkatesh
    Meera Venkatesh

    Jerome, I don't even know how to begin this note but i do know that i must write this not just to you, but to everyone who will see this post of yours. You have taught the whole world about how someone can truly share whatever they can in whatever situation they are and taught a lesson for our lives and our generations to come. I admire your courage, your generosity, your confidence throughout your journey, showing how to live life during such difficult times, how to face adversity, be truly part of thousands of lives and leave a legacy. Whatever anyone can learn from any type of religious, spiritual teachings for decades of practices has been taught to each one of us from what you have shared through this journey of yours - to focus on truly what matters in human lives and continue to share anything you got in any situation!! You and your family are in my prayers !!! Peace be with you always!!!!!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Susan Lee Willis
    Susan Lee Willis

    Jerome, I am so blessed to have met you through Jamal when we moved to Seattle last year. You and Sam were so friendly and made me feel welcome in a new city. My heart aches after reading your post, and no words can convey the sadness I feel. Your positivity, strength, and courage is an inspiration. Sending you, Sam, Caleb, your family and friends lots of love, positive energy, and prayers.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Francis Santos
    Francis Santos

    Hi Jerome, I am saddened by the news. You and your family have always been in my prayers ever since the news first broke. You have been very strong and courageous throughout and even with this post you continue to show your strength and courage. You have a beautiful family and are having a beautiful life. Your journey over the past few years is inspiring for us all. It affirms that despite the challenges in life and the suffering that takes place, if you keep your faith and never give up hope, there is always goodness, joy, and love in life. God bless you! My family and I will keep you and your family in our prayers.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Yvonne Lee
    Yvonne Lee

    Hi Jerome, you are truly an inspiration of courage, optimism and strength. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Jeff Selleg
    Jeff Selleg

    Jerome, I sit here wondering how to respond but please know I do so with heavy heart. I cannot for an instance pretend to know what you are experiencing but I certainly recognize the burden you are carrying. I am impressed and amazed at the grace, poise and courage you show and you truly move me to be a better man. God Bless, Jeff S

    4 years ago · Reply
  • David Low
    David Low

    Jerome, thank you for sharing the most personal thoughts with us, I cannot imagine how hard they are to write. I am so glad you came to Turkey and Austria this year so the team could get to spend time with you and to get to know you better.My discussions with you have really changed how I see life and am ever thankful for you for that. From all of us in Ireland we have you in our thoughts and prayers.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Aaron Suoja
    Aaron Suoja

    Jerome, I have struggled with what to write...I want to thank you for all of the great memories when we worked to together. More importantly, I want to thank you for taking the time to share this difficult journey. It has helped me tremendously as I have other friends that have recently begun their battles with cancer. Your positive attitude has been an inspiration. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • RMC
    RMC

    I don't know you; came across your blog when someone shared it on FB. Thank you for sharing your journey. You've touched many, including myself, with your stories, the strength you have and the positive attitude you displayed from diagnosis, treatment, to now. It's inspiring. I pray for you and your family. May He hear yours and all those praying for you.

    4 years ago · Reply