January 30, 2012
I’ve just barely finished typing “Dear Raviv” when I started to well up. I’ve both been dreading and anticipating this post. This may be my most important post on this blog yet.
A year ago yesterday (January 29, 2011) was the most devastating day for me. You see, when you were born, you had a soft lump on your head. It was quite visible, actually. When I asked the midwives and your first ever pedia at the Asian Hospital about it, they told me that your lump was normal–it was brought about by my giving birth to you. So I ceased to worry. Still, when we brought you to your regular pedia, Dr. Resa De Jesus (Jan. 7, 2011), I asked about your lump again. She told me almost the same thing: it was brought about by my labor, and it will eventually subside.
Two days after, your grandparents (my parents) came all the way from Mindanao to visit you. Mom noticed your lump, and I assured her it was nothing. Nevertheless, she told me to research. I was quite annoyed because I kept telling her that your pedias said there was nothing to worry. Yet when we brought you back to Dr. Resa De Jesus on your first month birthday (Jan. 26), I asked her why the swelling on your head hasn’t subsided yet. I expected her to say that it will take some more time for it go away, but when she looked alarm and wondered too why it had gotten bigger, I started to hear faint sounds of alarm bells in my head. She then referred us to a pedia-neuro. She told us that the pedia-neuro will hold her clinic in the same hospital the coming Friday (it was a Wednesday).
That Friday, we sent our driver to the hospital to schedule your check-up with the neuro-pedia referred by Dr. De Jesus. Unfortunately, she won’t be arriving that day. I was anxious to have you checked by her, so I asked when’s the next earliest time we could see her. I was told that she’d have her clinic in Calamba the following day in the morning.
The following day (Saturday), we arrived early at the hospital in Calamba. I was both dreading and anticipating this neuro-pedia’s diagnosis. Dreading, because what if there’s something wrong with you? Anticipating, because there may be nothing wrong with you and I could stop worrying.
Anyway, after a long wait, it was already our turn. We gave Dr. De Jesus’ referral letter to the neuro-pedia. She then asked me questions, like, what medicines I took when I was pregnant, did I take folic acid pre and during my pregnancy, etc. I told her that the only meds I took were the ones given the go signal by my OB; that I took folic acid but not diligently because I kept on throwing up; and that No, I didn’t take folic acid prior to my pregnancy. Then she touched the lump on your head. After some seconds of feeling it, she gave her verdict: she said that she thinks you have either meningocele or encephalocele. She said it so nonchalantly that I thought it was no big deal. Tatay and I asked how it can be treated. She said that it may be treated through cranial surgery. Again, nonchalantly. I felt a lump form in my throat, and tears welling up. I wanted to think I misheard her. But no, when your Tatay clarified, she actually said SURGERY.
According to her, she suspected that a part of your brain was directly under your scalp. Your brain, she said, wasn’t covered by your skull, and that it may be corrected through cranial surgery. Although she told us that the surgery was not too risky, I still couldn’t accept it (I was fighting back tears: I can’t cry in front of this cold doctor–I don’t think she’d understand or console me. In fact, I even thought she might berate me for crying). She told us too to have you undergo a cranial MRI to verify her suspicions. Your Tatay asked her how sure she was that you had meningocele/encephalocele, she said, “Mga 70%. The remaining 30% is that it’s just an ordinary lump.” Seventy percent. She seemed too confident that you had either meningocele or encephalocele. With just a few touches, she knew what it was.
Your Tatay and I of course wanted to have you MRIed right away. But the neuro-pedia said you’d have to be cleared by Dr. De Jesus. When you undergo MRI, you’ll be sedated. If you’re not physically ready, complications may arise if you’ll be given anesthesia. Thus, the clearance that your tiny, fragile body can take anesthesia.
Your Tatay and I walked to the car quietly. The second we were in the car, I let out my cries. I cried…no, I wailed! I remember your Tatay saying, “Sabi na nga ba e.” I got mad at him–how could he not cry? How could he not expect me to feel this way? I couldn’t stop crying, especially whenever I look at you cradled in my arms. I imagine your head being cracked open, the surgeons pushing your brain into your skull. I started to fear you’d develop tics, have a learning disability, lack some motor skills, etc. if a complication arises from the surgery. All the way to Los Banos, I was crying and crying. It was even your Tatay who called Dr. De Jesus’ secretary to ask her (and Dr. De Jesus) to wait for us (her clinic hours were soon over) while he was driving, because I couldn’t even speak.
I almost couldn’t face Dr. De Jesus because I knew I’d cry again and again. She looked sympathetic and worried (opposite of the neuro-pedia), and even said, “Baka hindi naman.” She instructed us to have you X-rayed and to have your blood drawn for CBC. She told us to return the following day (Sunday) with the results which she will check to clear you for anesthesia. She advised to us to go the Asian Hospital for your MRI because the machine there was better. She also called an anesthesiologist-pediatrician affiliated with the Asian Hospital.
When I got home, I immediately called your Lola Emma and told her the bad news. The minute she answered, I burst again. I told her that there was a big chance my baby boy might have to undergo cranial surgery. The pitch of her voice got high and then her voice cracked too. I knew she was trying to hold her cry to be strong for me. Your Tatay was trying to appease me by saying that, “At least we have the means to give our son the best medical treatment.” You know what? I hated your Tatay for saying that. I shouted to him, “Ayoko, ayoko, ayokong maoperahan sa ulo si Raviv! Ayoko kahit may pera pa tayong pambayad sa pinakamagaling na duktor!“
That afternoon, I had a fever and I locked myself in our room. I wanted to hate you so I wouldn’t care what would happen to you. I gave your nanny instructions not to bring you to me. I was also angry at God. Why, why, why? I refused to pray, thinking, “Eh will mo ito eh! Bahala ka na kung ano’ng gusto mong mangyari sa anak ko! Ikaw naman ang magdedesisyon niyan.” I was angry at God that I texted my Victory Small Groupmate, Li’Ann Correa-Fernandez. I asked her to visit me.
A few hours after, she came. I told her about what the neuro-pedia said. She told me to pray, and I told her I didn’t want to because I think it’s futile. She explained to me that God wants us to ask from Him, to put our faith in Him, to be closer to Him. Before Li’Ann left, she laid her hands upon your lump, and we prayed. That jumpstarted my deeper relationship with Him.
To be continued tomorrow, promise.
Tell me what you think!
Powered by Facebook Comments