Many people has asked me “Why did you choose USC Norris for your treatment?” — my answer was simple, “I don’t want come to a place where I have to ask other people where the ladies room is”
I graduated from USC in 2009 with Computer Science degree — and to be honest, I never open the envelop that contain my degree nor knowing where it is. My life was busy, let’s put it that way! However, USC always has a special place in my heart! It’s called “home” — therefore, when I got my diagnosis with cancer in Vietnam, I wanna go “home”
I remembered calling USC Norris from Saigon at midnight (which is around 9 am in Los Angeles), “Hello, I’m a USC Alumni, and also a former patient. I’m currently in Vietnam, and a doctor here told me that I have cancer. Can you help me find a lung cancer physician that have the earliest available appointment?” — and they set me up with Dr. Jorge Nieva.
For the first year of treatment, the team was only me and Jorge. But then when the second year comes around, I got more symptoms that need special care. Jorge put me in touch with Jason Ye — a radiation oncologist who helped me with a small spot in my rib. I went through 10 sessions of radiation peacefully without much fatigue in early 2018.
Tagrisso didn’t work as effectively as Tarceva, and I end up with a pleurodesis surgery by Dr. Elizabeth David. Needless to say, she is quite amazing with such a complicated surgery. There is no more fluid build up in my lung since after the surgery.
On [Day 694], we started chemotherapy — which is the toughest thing I’ve ever been. I went to Vietnam for 2 weeks after my second round of chemo — where I believed I got flu. The combination of flu and side effects created some interesting events in the 3rd round.
We did a CT scan 2 weeks ago and very happy to see the tumor-shrinking a lot — which is terrific!
Dr. David invited me to the USC — Norte Dame game today with Chris Draft. Dr. Ye and Dr. Nieva also came. We had many interesting and meaningful conversations about the cancer patient survivors and mission of non-profit organizations. I love how Chris told me, “We should use SURVIVOR instead of PATIENT, one word is more powerful than the other”
I haven’t seen a football game in the past 10 years. And though USC didn’t win today, it’s an awesome game. We stayed until the very end to see the final touchdown.
That’s the spirit, winning or not, I wanna see things through until the very end!
I don’t think there is any single person can treat/cure cancer by themselves. It always takes a team effort, whether it’s two people (patient & oncologist) or more (families, friends, special care team)
We cannot choose whether we have cancer or not, but we certainly have choices after the diagnosis. The most important thing in life is to live it!
USC, November 24th, 2018