Salmon and Carcinoma

I was here in 1988 to see the first light of day, to enter the world or “be thrown into without prior consent” as Kierkegaard would have called it. This is where I was born. After a few minutes of paperwork, the State already imposed its hatred on me and called me illegitimate.

fetus davinci

A lot of “dramatic firsts” happened here and its popularity was once not just only for the Philippines but also the world. Almost everyone I know in my generation was born here. We tend to have this culture that healthcare quality is directly proportional to its price. Mas sigurado ang buhay mo dito, my father says. He was very close to Dr. Cornejo, one of the best surgeons of this institution back in the day.

One time, a few years later, I was brought there with lower right abdominal pain. They hurriedly prepped me for appendectomy but turned out it wasn’t appendicitis. The said doctor was available for a call at 2 in the morning for my father and his second opinion was for me not to be sliced on the table and his judgement was correct.

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You know how salmon go against the stream and must always instinctively go back to where they were born? Cognitive bias and the need for dramatic writing tells me I am always drawn back to this place.

It was late 2008 when I was here again. I was in the waiting room for relatives of patients in the OR. It was cold and the metallic chairs didn’t help. I had nothing: no smartphone or internet access, no television. All I had there, for the long hours of waiting, was a newspaper someone else left behind as my reading material. The headline announces Obama as president-elect. One of his favorite phrases at the time was bring the troops home:

Are the troops home? Anyway…

Yesterday, I was in that same institution, only their operating rooms have transferred and the waiting area chairs are much more comfortable. It was in tower 2, 4th floor. We even had to pass this really cool bridge that connected the two towers (I am easily amazed by things).

I once had this conversation with a microbiologist friend about cancer:

6/17, 3:00pm
Harry Santos
I was wondering
Is cancer in the realm of microbiology and viruses or whatever?

6/17, 3:00pm
Her
haha. cancer kasi is what happens to a cell
when it doesn’t stop multiplying

6/17, 3:00pm
Harry Santos
is it like an error with the DNA? like of the cell?

6/17, 3:01pm
Her
normally cells have these genetic mechanisms that tell it to stop multiplying because it’s bad for the tissues but in cancerous cells they don’t work

6/17, 3:02pm
Harry Santos
damn so it’s just some error with the cell?

6/17, 3:03pm
Her
yea, that’s why if you study immunology, you study cancer too

6/17, 3:03pm
Harry Santos
can’t we stop it? with like epigenetics tech or something?

6/17, 3:03pm
Her
probably
i’m not too well versed in it
hahaha

6/17, 3:03pm
Harry Santos
how come they say microwaves or cigarettes cause it?
if it’s like an error within the cell?

6/17, 3:04pm
Her
because they tinker with your dna

6/17, 3:45pm
Harry Santos
so im reading about carcinogens
molecules are so scary
i hate how they have patterns
like the Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon in yosi
now im scared to smoke @_@
it’s so… symmetrical
it’s scaring me
hahaha im totally not working and just reading about this

6/17, 3:46pm
Her
[hahaha]

6/17, 3:49pm
Harry Santos
i think im starting to get cancerparanoia
even smoked fish has carcinogens wtf
i love smoked salmon
i have some at home

6/17, 3:52pm
Her
haha all things in moderation
and hot smoked salmon is worse than cold smoked
im willing to bet you have the cold smoked ones

6/17, 3:55pm
Harry Santos
yeah i have the cold one
now i feel like i wanna switch to e-cigs
it’s so douchey though haha

Not entirely wittingly, perhaps somewhat subconsciously, I was asking not because of Breaking Bad. It was more personal than that. And as you have noticed, salmon was mentioned again. Supposedly, grilling salmon may increase the risks of cancer.

My mother never smoked. My mother never drank alcohol. She is a good person with no vices. She deserves good health. It’s that typical problem of evil question: why do bad things happen to good people? 

Salmon and Carcinoma.

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