Saturday, January 14, 2012

Challenges and Blessings

2012 appears to be a very challenging year for us but so far, all signs show that no matter what happens, everything will work out somehow.

Janina has been attending speech therapy classes especially since she’s very much delayed on this aspect. The pediatrician also told us that she appears to have verbal apraxia.  According to, Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder. For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and palate that are necessary for intelligible speech. The root word "praxis" means planned movement. To some degree or another, a child with the diagnosis of apraxia of speech has difficulty programming and planning speech movements. Apraxia of speech is a specific speech disorder.

One of the challenging aspects of her attending speech therapy is actually the cost as a one hour session costs PhP 700.00 or approximately $16.00.  We meet the therapist twice a week so that’s roughly around P5,600.00 or $127.00 a month. On top of that, her big brother will be going to the big school by next school year and because we value quality education, we opted for a school whose tuition fee does not exactly cost peanuts.  So far, we’ve been able to make ends meet and I know that with His grace, we will survive the year. 

Inspite of these challenges, we have so much to be thankful for.  When Janina was born, she was diagnosed with PDA and ASD.  Simply put, the doctors found that her heart had a hole which they hoped would eventually close by itself.  Recently, the pediatrician noticed that Kuya’s chest seemed to be getting bigger, somewhat like that of a pigeon’s and she also noticed he had a heart murmur.  So we brought the two to the cardiologist (especially since it was time for Janina to have a follow up check-up).  The doctor recommended that they both get an ECG as well as a 2D Echo.  Upon hearing those words, my mind starts computing costs once again particularly because we  were advised that these would not be covered by the health insurance because they fall under congenital conditions.  But again, we tell ourselves that the most important thing is still the health of our kids and we go on with the procedures for both. 

When the ECG was done, the pedia said that everything seemed to be okay (breath of relief) but that she wanted to have the 2D Echo done just to be sure.  Today, we had the 2D echo done for both and amazingly, both of them have been issued with a clean bill of heart-health!  Praise God!!!  I’ve been praying and praying over this and I’m so glad that our prayers were answered.  My heart and my mind tell me that our answered prayers are all with the help of Mama Mary.  Maybe it’s because I am now reading the third installment of Mama Mary and Her Children by Fr. James B. Reuter, or maybe because while we were waiting for our turn to have the 2D echo, who talked to me about Mama Mary, the Bible and all the conversions he heard about. 

Yes indeed, it’s another Mama Mary miracle for me and I’m sure that there will be more to come :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Year 2011 in Review

2011 was a big year for Nina and for us as well.  Having recovered well from her 1st Cranial Vault last year, the doctors set the date for her syndactyly release.  The date was finally set for June 7th at 7am and so we were admitted at Cardinal Santos Medical Center the day before.  Her first operation was done at the PGH but because Dr. Teng Castillo (the plastic surgeon/hand doctor) whom Dr. Bernie Tansipek would be working with was no longer affiliated with PGH, the surgery had to be done in Cardinal Santos.

I would say that one of the hardest things for us was the fasting requirement prior to the surgery.  Because Nina is breastfed, she is used to latching on to me in the evenings.  I’ve become her evening pacifier so to speak.  Fasting for surgeries usually require that a patient does not take any liquid for something like 10 hours before the surgery!  But we were lucky the anesthesiologist was considerate and allowed her to take in BM up to 6 hours before.  After the 6th hour, hubs and I switched places with him sleeping beside Nina and me sleeping on the bunk so that she wouldn’t look for me.  Thank God we survived that night with little crying.  Maybe I should try and see if I can still teach her to take in the pacifier even at this age because I know that as she grows older, this fasting thing will prove to be even more difficult.

Apart from her surgery, one of the biggest obstacles we had were bouts with pneumonia.  We almost spent Christmas eve in the hospital because of that.  Thankfully, our pedia allowed us to go home with strict instructions for her to be nebulized every 3 hours and that she was in no way to engage in any strenuous play.  It was a challenge but it was definitely better than spending Christmas eve in the hospital.  I’m so wary of her getting coughs and colds these days simply because I’m always afraid that it might turn into pneumonia again.

On a positive note, our biggest blessing this year (apart from having one another) was Nina’s incredible development from being assessed with Global Developmental Delay to only having Speech Delay in a matter of 6 months without any therapy whatsoever.  A miracle indeed!  Another blessing was the fact that we were able to overcome the many unexpected expenses we had this year – most especially the surgeries.  Hubs and I are both blessed with jobs but even with our incomes combined, it’s a miracle that we even manage to get by.  Of course, credit goes to our family members who generously help us out during these times.  So glad to have a wonderful support system and a loving family behind us.

To summarize the year, 2011 was a big challenge for the family, but with God’s grace, we were able to overcome every obstacle, hand in hand with humbled hearts and smiles on our faces.  We know that 2012 will be an even better year with the love of God, our family and friends.  Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2012 everyone! Here's wishing that you feel loved and blessed every moment of 2012!