by Rimaliza A. Opiña
A public school teacher, who chose to teach in far-flung areas to educate the poor, is knocking on the doors of kind-hearted souls to jumpstart her eight-session chemotherapy.
For months, 57-year old Lourdes Bitog of Hapao, Hungduan, Ifugao has been complaining of abdominal pain. However, because her family had to set aside money for the tuition of her children and the medication of one of her children, she decided to postpone having a checkup.
Still grieving from the death of her youngest child Rubyrose, the Bitog family found themselves confronted with yet another crisis.
According to fifth daughter, former Baguio journalist Rubyloida, her mother was confined at the Saint Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart on Dec. 9, 2016.
Based on her CT Scan report, she has “nodular wall thickening, ascending colon, multiple confluent retroperitoneal, retroverted uterus and minimal posterior cul-de-sac fluid, multiple tiny hepatic cysts, small simple renal cyst (left), and atherosclerotic iliac arteries.”
On Dec. 14, 2016 she was operated on her colon wherein the doctors removed large cysts, which is the cause of her severe abdominal pain. On Dec. 22, 2016 she was released from the hospital with advice that the doctors will still have to wait for the biopsy result and she needs to come back after she fully recovered for another operation to remove her ovary. Despite her colon operation, she still suffers pains from her belly up to her back which slows down her recovery.
Last Jan. 5, the family received the result of the biopsy. Doctors said Lourdes has several tumors caused by the cancerous cells which are multiplying.
She needs to complete eight sessions, one session per month.
Rubyloida said the cost of a single session of chemotherapy is way beyond their (siblings) combined income. She said her other four siblings have loans because of their mother’s recent expensive surgery.
Lourdes is a solo parent to nine children. Despite this, she was able to provide for her children at the same time fulfilled her obligations as a teacher.
Lourdes started her career as a teacher at Saint Louis, La Union on June 5, 1983. She was later transferred to Saint Louis High School Philex Campus, Benguet on Aug. 2, 1983. She then went to another school branch at Saint Louis High School in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya in 1985. Before teaching in her hometown in Ifugao, she worked as food handler teacher at Good Shepherd, Baguio City. In May of 1985, she was finally taken as an elementary teacher in Nunggulunan, Hung-duan, Ifugao.
For the past years up to present, she had been assigned to different far-flung towns of Hungduan and Banaue, Ifugao.
The Bitog family is in great dilemma on where to source out the money for her chemotherapy.
“Hindi po namin alam kung saan kukuha ng ganoong kalaking pera pero naniniwala po kaming hindi kami pababayaan ng Diyos. Hindi pa rin po kami nawawalan ng pag-asa na may mga mabubuting tao handang tumulong sa kapwa,” Rubyloida said.
She said her mother’s only wish is to see her grandchildren grow and to enjoy her pension from her teaching career, by the time she retires.
For those who are willing to extend help, contact Rubyloida at 0975-282-8176. Lourdes may also be visited at her daughter’s boarding house at IC26, Betag, La Trinidad, Benguet. Her first chemotherapy at Saint Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart, Baguio City is on Jan. 17.