Monday, March 29, 2010


-Lung surgery...the pain and the discomfort is so unbearable that the first couple of days you feel like you've been run over by a semi-truck. Even though the incision made seems like no big deal, it is a big deal and extremely painful.
-So on March 12th I had a procedure done to my left lung. My left lung was the lung with the largest tumor and with many tumors throughout the entire lung. The incision was made horizontally between two ribs on my left side. They entered through that small opening and moved up against my muscles, which caused part of the soreness, to reach my lung. Another cause for the soreness is that they intubate you so that if your lungs were to collapse, basically stop breathing, they are ready to act quickly and effectively and but you on a breathing machine. When the tube comes out of your throat you are left being sore for many days.
-So what exactly did they do, you ask. Well first of all they took care of a condition that had developed on my right lung, called pneumothorax. Pneumothorax is the collection of air in the space around my lung. This buildup of air puts pressure on the lung, so it cannot expand as much as it normally does when you breathe. They corrected this condition by placing a needle in my chest to release the air in the space around the lung so that the lung could expand to its normal size. Thank goodness because it was getting hard to breath normally without my whole lung working. They then worked on my left lung. They found the largest tumor and had to remove the bottom left portion of my lung due to the fact that the tumor was very difficult to remove without causing any other damage. So yes, I am without a full left lung. There were a few other tumors they found on the top left lung and those were removed as well. They then placed a pigtail, a tube, on my right side and a larger tube on my left side to drain any liquid that may have formed in my lungs. This is done after any type of lung procedure to ensure the lungs are free of fluids. The liquid can be moisture, blood, mucus, or any type of bodily fluid in the body and any liquid that forms in the lung can cause pneumonia.
-After lung surgery a patient goes to Intensive Care Unit (ICU), but in my case it's called Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (P-ICU), because I am still considered a child based on my age. Patients are taken to this unit to be monitored by nurses around the clock because there may be complications.
-In my case all went very well. I did not get moved to the P-ICU because I was doing very well. There were no problems during the surgery or after the surgery.
-With the loss of part of my lung I use a speedometer. It makes me take a deep breath so that my lung expands and takes over the gap in my body.
-When people have this kind of surgery they shouldn't use there upper body too much. The lower body should be used as much as possible. This has been very difficult for me because I can't use my lower body too much due to the surgery I had in October where I had a hip reconstruction. I am still recovering from that surgery and can not walk on my own as of yet. And now I add the fact that I am recovering from lung surgery but all in all things are GREAT.
-There have been many experiences in my life that I am thankful for, Even though this isn't the best situation this new me has learned how to be patient and how to make the best out of any situation.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Scared for my life

Having cancer is not one of the scariest diseases. It is once it is classified and one knows where it has spread to that it becomes scarier.
My cancer is a rare kind of sarcoma that originated in my thigh and has spread to my lungs. This kind of sarcoma usually goes to the liver as well, which makes it very dangerous because once the liver is damaged it can not help process the chemotherapy.
After completing the chemotherapy I was told I would need lung surgery, to remove the tumors still in my lungs, which surged a panic through me. I did not know what to expect. We were told we would get a call from a specialized surgeon in a couple of days but they said it would be hard to find one that would be willing and able to do it.
We began to look around to find answers. We went from doctor appointment to doctor appointment hearing that a lung surgery to remove the tumors would be a difficult task and maybe not fully successful.
What we did not know was that there was already a specialist ready for me with a surgery date and a plan of action and was just waiting for me.
We went to go see the surgeon and he has no doubt in his mind that he can do the surgery. He explained to us the lungs have five lobes. The right one has three and the left one has two. A person can live a normal life with four lobes and live a semi normal with three. Anything less would be very risky and hardly possible.
It is said that it is not a very difficult surgery. They have operated on people with up to 20 lumps in the lungs. If one has more then that it is not very likely that they can get them all out.
We were so excited to hear that they have a surgery date calendared and that they are so confident about the surgery. With high spirits we headed home to tell everyone the great news and have a nice lunch.
On our way home something unexpected happened. We were in a car crash. No one was hurt and later, much later we found a way to laugh about it. The joke is maybe God had wanted the car crash to happen to help send all of my lumps in the top sections of my lungs to fall to the bottom section of my lungs to help the surgeon, which we all found to be hilarious.
Now the question we have is whats really going to end up killing me. I'm just kidding. :D

Sunday, March 14, 2010


On March 13th, the anticipated fight between “The Fighting Pride of the Philippines,” Manny Pacquiao versus the Ghana native Joshua Clottey was not the most exciting fight.
I feel bad for those who paid 50 bucks to see it on Pay-Per-View.

As we boxing enthusiasts know, Pacquiao’s record is highly impressive. 51 wins and 3 losses. Including 38 KO’s. Clottey’s record is also as impressive with 35 Wins, 4 Losses, with 20 KO’s.

So clearly, I - and the 50,994 attendees at Cowboys Stadium - expected to see a good fight.

Clottey had his guard up the whole time. Even then, Pacquiao’s hits still hurt him.
Pacquiao responded with raging shots to the head whenever Clottey attempted to make a mark.

Pacquiao's hits were clean. However in round 4 Pacquiao hit him with two hands at once, causing the referee to stop the fight for a quick second.

Body shots to Clottey seemed to be “Pacman’s” strategy.
Clottey was basically letting him win. I was hoping he was saving the best for last.
By round five, Clottey seemed to finally open up. Still, one of the judges said Clottey “didn’t come to win tonight.” He was giving the fight away.

Clottey gave punches to the face, but didn’t seem to affect Pacquiao much until the 9th round. Pacquiao was injured under the right eye. Clottey wasn’t blocking as much like before. But with Pacquiao’s combination punches - Clottey didn’t stand a chance.

Every time a round ended Clottey’s trainer, Lenny Dejesus, told him to “take a chance.” He clearly didn’t listen.
With everything on the line for both: money, career, reputation. What’s the excuse for Clottey? If only he would let go, he probably had a chance to win it. It was a unanimous decision.
Pacquiao won.

To give Clottey some credit, he had clean counterpunches. “Pacman” called Clottey, “strong enough” and said the fight was “very hard.” I think he was just being nice.

On May 1st Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather will hopefully face off. I’m a Mosley fan, and I want him to win. However, whoever wins that fight will face-off Pacquiao. And I think a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao smack down will be the fight of the century.

There was talk of them fighting, but steroid allegations prevented it.
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach (who also trained my uncle back in the day) said when the day comes to fight Mayweather they “will crush him.”

Saturday, March 13, 2010

That Religious Guy: 1- 800 - Confession

..... There have been many attempts over the years to spice up religion. Some have tried substituting upbeat modern tunes in place of traditional hymns during worship. Others have resorted to filling gigantic stadiums with parishioners, dazzling them with lights, cameras, and plenty of action. All such attempts are mainly concerned with getting the faithful back into the pews, bringing new life into old churches. France, however, takes the cake for the most inventive, if not dumbest idea, yet: a dial-a-confession telephone service.
..... "Cord to the Lord" is the brainchild of a concerned group of French Catholics who saw a problem in the Church: indifference and disinterest. So, they thought of a way to bring the Church to the people, through the phone of course. For 20 to 50 cents, individuals can call Cord to the Lord and confess their sins. During the call, the Gospel is read, the person is allowed to confess, and is then led through the Act of Contrition. Cord to the Lord's creators understand that their service doesn't grant absolution for sins, but is simply an outlet for people to empty themselves.
..... Cord to the Lord is doing people more of a disservice however. I was raised under the idea that it's all or nothing, that you have to risk it to get the biscuit. Why would anyone want to confess their sins to an automated voice and not be forgiven than confess their sins to a priest and receive absolution? Sure, actually going to a local church and kneeling in the confessional requires legs and spiritual motivation, but isn't it worth it since one can be truly cleansed of sin? There may be some embarrassment at first, since going to confession means you have to verbally expose your dark deeds, but this emotion is reasonable. When you do bad things, you naturally feel shame.
..... The Catholic Church in France officially condemns Cord to the Lord since it trivializes an important sacrament. The hot-line is trying to dehumanize the act of confessing. After all, confessing to a priest symbolizes how one is acknowledging that his sins affect the whole community, the whole Church. This neighborly relationship is a human one, not a mechanical one.
..... I myself just went to confession hours ago and love the sacrament because it gives me a fresh start. Hopefully Cord to the Lord gets disconnected soon since its separating people from their faith instead of bringing them closer. Besides, if God really had a phone, I doubt he'd just limit himself to accepting confession calls. He hears enough every two weeks from me to keep the line busy. 

- Jeremy Dela Cruz

Monday, March 8, 2010

Clearly Claire: Your "Top 5"

I have always been a fan of the show "The Rotten Tomatoes Show" on CurrentTv. I love watching regular people give their opinions about different movies, the crazy twosome that talk over each other and yell about what they love and scream about what they hate. But even on the dullest episode, the show was always saved with a hilarious "Top 5" list. This list could be anything from "Best Car Chase" to "Best Harrison Ford Lines". Each one is carzier than the next, so when the Entertainment Editor Michelle Pheav couldn't come up with a dominant story, I suggested our own "Top 5" lists.

I like to think I know everything about movies and that I have seen everyone, but I do not know everything and I have not seen it all. But I do think that I picked pretty good topics and pretty good movies for the lists. The five "top 5" topics I used were "Best I Love You's", "Best Movie Soundtracks", "Sequels That Didn't Need to be Made", "Movies That Will Make Anyone Cry" and "Superhero Movies That Should Have Been Good, But Weren't" (to look at the lists, go here).

I stand by my picks, but like I said, I have not seen it all. If you think you have better movies for the lists, or you think I should have done another topic than the ones picked, comment this blog wth your movie or topic.

RANDOMora: Gendercide?

PHOTO CREDIT: CharlotteSpeaks♥{Charlotte.Morrall}


Killed, aborted or neglected, at least 100m girls have disappeared—and the number is rising

When I read this story, a question came about: How can the world's society change what appears to be natural customs to humane and what we can identify as modern?

Before any hubbub comes about, I am pro-choice when it comes to a woman's body and the situations she may encounter to have to choose abortion.

However, that being stated, abortion isn't the "Get out of Jail" card nor an action to erase a mistake while gambling with genders.

In India and China's circumstance, the last statement refers here.

Someone can easily read this article and while getting up to refill their soy latte be in complete disgust.

I know I did (Instead, my diet Pepsi.)

However, these are countries that have been accustomed to this way of living, and saying, "Isn't it about time that they awake and take the step to today's normalcy?" isn't that simple.

As the reporter says:

"China should scrap the one-child policy ... They should encourage female education; abolish laws and customs that prevent daughters inheriting property; make examples of hospitals and clinics with impossible sex ratios; get women engaged in public life—using everything from television newsreaders to women traffic police."

Who doesn't agree? These things should happen, but what is the solution to stopping a cultural custom?

(Visit: my new blog and type up with RANDOMe)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

RANDOMora: 'Alice in Wonderland' dreams up too much hype

“Alice in Wonderland” came out Mar. 5 with a wonder of excitement built around it.

However, perhaps that caterpillar was blowing out too many smoke puffs.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

That Religious Guy: From Como estas to Kumusta Ka

..... Hablas Español?
..... Nagsasalita ka ba ng wikang Español?
..... It's common knowledge that the Philippines was once a Spanish colony and therefore many of its languages still retain Spanish loan words. In 1987, the Philippine government abolished the mother tongue of the conquistadors as an official language and relaxed the requirement obligating all college students to study it. Many Filipinos have lamented the loss of this language from the mouths of younger generations, but they may soon be comforted in knowing that Spanish is making a comeback.
..... Under Philippines' Education Secretary Jesli Lapus and the Spanish education ministry's Jose Manuel Martinez Sierra, an agreement was signed restoring some life into the Spanish language in the islands. As of 2012, Spain will be training language teachers and sending electronic teaching aids to the Philippines. In addition to the help from Madrid, Spanish will become a compulsory subject in the Philippines.
..... There are only a few native Spanish speakers living in the Philippines; thousands more speak a creole language Chavacano. This minority of individuals have kept the language alive, due to hereditary tradition more than necessity. Still, some Filipinos are still trapped in a colonial mindset. They believe that learning Spanish is equal to selling out to the colonizing Kastila ("Spaniards" in Tagalog, coming from "Castillian"). Up until recently, speaking Spanish had its own stigma; hispanohablantes were supposedly elitist, rich, and supercilious. This ignorant stereotype, however, is just that, a stereotype. Learning Spanish and indeed other foreign languages broadens one's mind and perception of the world. Learning a language doesn't make one more close-minded.
..... 300 plus years of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines have left their mark in our religion, customs, cuisine, and languages. From our barrio fiestas to flan, Semana Santa to Santo Niño, and our surnames, Filipino culture has been spiced by the Iberian peninsula. It's time that we embrace our collective history and embrace the language of revolution, the language of Rizal and Bonifacio, the language of Spanish. I for one will do my best to take Spanish 1-2 senior year, just to get ready for the coming decades when Spanish will be revived in the Philippines. Hopefully in the years to come, Mexicans, Cubans, Spaniards, and other hispanohablantes will be able to communicate easily with their Filipino cousins.

- Jeremy Dela Cruz

Thursday, March 4, 2010

CARINA 360°: CNN's Soledad O'Brien, the exclusive

It was weeks ago. I walked into classroom A-8, as always, but it was different.

“Yo Karina!” Mr. Bott was calling me. Maybe not in those exact words, but mind you I have a bad memory.

He told me
Soledad O’Brien was to speak at the University of Pacific on February 3rd. And The Stagg Line had an exclusive interview with her. My heart stopped.
Soledad O’Brien? The woman from
CNN? The woman I look up to?

Fast forward to that magical day and I’m shaking hands with the one and only O’Brien.

On the day of, after school I shivered with excitement. In a few hours I would be interviewing one of the best journalist in the field. But a sense of fear also ran through me body.
I have a lame habit of saying lame jokes when I’m nervous. And seeing as this was no average Jane, I was somewhat scared.

Once we arrived at UOP, minutes later we walked into the room, a mob of four. Mr. Bott, me, Lissette, and photographer Claire.

In her neat pony tail and Chanel-like black suit, it was O’Brien. All smiles as she shook each of our hands.

“Hi, Soledad.”
“Hi! Karina Ramirez.”

It was somewhat surreal. We high school teenagers from Stockton were interviewing a CNN big shot from New York.

Within the 30 treasured minutes with her, we asked a variety of questions. Ranging from diversity to her documentaries.

We asked her if she ever faced discrimination, she said yes, but not because of her gender or ethnicity. Surprisingly, It was when she was pregnant.

"I remember trying to go to the tsunami, and I had just had my twin boys, and people would say ‘You’re not going to want to travel, you’re a mom.'"

She also said to us that variety matter’s in the job market. Sometimes those skills a person has, such as being bilingual, is vital. She explained her “okay-ish” Spanish helped her when she traveled to Haiti to report on the earthquake.

“I’m ahead of the game. I’m in a country where they speak Spanish … and I can do interviews and run threw that country. We could navigate our way around”

Things will only improve saying, “As the world is more global, and becomes more interconnected to a wider range of people - that has value.”

Latino In America,” was a documentary she made exploring how the Latino community is changing the face of America. One question we asked was when reporting, was what did she learn about the school systems.

O‘Brien found that the results are not reaching the expectations needed for a proper education.

“We are really undeserving our students in public schools.”

The Latino demographic is the fastest growing demographic than any other. O’Brien says the problem is that if the fastest growing demographic is not graduating from high school in high numbers, the outcome for the future is looking bleak.

“We’re all in this boat and if a part of the boat springs a leak - that’s big trouble.”

As a Cuban-Black-Irish-Australian in a less than diverse profession, she beat the odds and became successful. For the next generation of journalists, having passion is key, she told us. “First thing is to be really good … in anything whether it’s TV reporting or any job, … because at the end of the day that’s what you’re going to be judged on. It’s just a matter of staying in the game, simple as that.”

Being CNN enthusiast and mere seventeen year olds, I don't think anything else can top how overwhelmed and thrilled we were. How many high school teens can say they've interviewed Soledad O’Brien?

*photo credit: Claire Scheffer