When the unexpected happens

So, it has been a month since I last posted a blog entry. Time flies when you’re having fun a lot of things are happening. 

If I can remember correctly, my last blog was about my son’s short visit from college. Yey, good times! Though unplanned, and truly short (it was only five days long), it was a fun reunion with the family. 

After that Quarter Break in September, the plan was for me and my husband to fly to Singapore to attend the College’s Parents’ Orientation Weekend from Oct. 13-15. I was really looking forward to that trip. For one, we would see the unico again after only three weeks — no chance to miss him too much, right?

Also, well, I love Singapore. The flight is just 3 1/2 hours, so it’s bearable. The country is safe, it’s not polluted, the commute is easy. I can go places by myself and not get scared out of my wits. Then there’s Sephora and Victoria’s Secret (aren’t these good enough reasons to be excited??!).

And of course we go back to the fact that my son goes to college there — so yes, I was looking forward to the trip.  So I booked our flights early, even decided to extend our stay for a couple more days (for shopping, what else?!).

Three days before our scheduled departure, I received a message from my son saying he had an accident in his dorm. His foot and leg went numb while he was walking, he had a bad fall… and he broke a toe.

Yes, he broke one of the little piggies — to be more specific, the one who didn’t go to market, nor stayed home, nor had roast beef. It was the little piggy who had none (the ring toe). 

If you can’t imagine how he broke it nor how it looked broken, well, you are not alone. I couldn’t imagine it at first either. In fact, when I called him up to check on him, I was even quite cool and dismissive, I told him that the hospital will probably just pop it right back — like what people normally do with dislocated shoulders or knees.

We respond to accidents differently. On hindsight, I believe I was cool and not panicking because I was a thousand miles away and I couldn’t see the extent of the injury. Plus, when I was talking to him, I couldn’t quite tell if he was crying or laughing. Mom, I broke my toe!! *giggle*giggle*giggle* ” And I could hear laughter in the background, as well. Apparently it was one of his room mates who was making my son laugh to keep him from passing out. (When I saw a photo of the broken toe, I thought I was going to pass out.)

My son’s dorm mates had the presence of mind to call an ambulance right away. One of them placed pillows under my son’s leg to keep it elevated. And despite the scary, icky sight of his broken toe, they kept him conscious and alert. God bless them for being there!

The ambulance came right away. He was brought to the emergency room of the nearby hospital. And then we didn’t hear from him for quite sometime. At this point I surmised that the doctors were cleaning the wound… or popping the bone back in. 

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Do you see the fourth little piggy? Of course you don’t… because it’s bent. 😦 I have a photo of the broken toe, but I will spare you. Believe me it’s not a sight to behold. 

When we finally got to talk to someone from the hospital, we were told that the bone cannot be just popped back in (actually they tried, but it was much too painful and it didn’t really work). So my son had to undergo surgery. Right away. That same afternoon. 

The doctors will have to put a wire to straighten the bone again and correct the alignment. And they had to stitch the open wound up. Everything had to be done in a rush also to prevent infection.

And so my son had to undergo surgery, in another country, without us there beside him. 

Thank God he had such great dorm mates and friends who waited for him at the hospital. Thank God for our Singaporean friends who rushed to the hospital the moment we informed them about the accident.  

Patient B32

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Not at all related to B1 or B2

After about three hours, my son was awake, and back from surgery and recovery room.

He was able to text and update us. Told us he was asleep the whole time, and that when he woke up, his toe was already all stitched up, with a wire holding it straight. He was to stay in the hospital for the time being so the doctors can monitor him, xray his toe and check the outcome.

At this point we all decided there’s no need anymore to rebook our flight to an earlier day since the surgery was over anyway. We told him to just rest and relax in the hospital and that we will go straight to him the moment we arrive on Friday morning. 

The following day — which was a Wednesday — we were told that the xray showed that although there’s already a wire, the bone was still not perfectly aligned. The doctor explained to my son that they could leave the wire as is, but the bone will still be a little crooked when it heals and there’s a risk of the joints experiencing some pain eventually. So my son was given an option to have another surgery, this time a ‘not rushed’ one, to fix the bone properly. The hospital called in their best orthopedic and trauma surgeon to do it. 

My son being 18 decided for himself. He said he opted to have the toe fixed. Yup, that very day. And we were a thousand miles away still.

Two surgeries in two days. How’s that for independence and adulting?

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Post 2nd surgery. Little piggy has a wire sticking out. 

To say that I don’t feel bad for not being there for him from the moment of the accident to the surgeries (both of them) will be an understatement. For a mom who prides herself on being “always there” during important moments, well, this time I wasn’t there. I couldn’t be there. 

Yet I believe that the accident showed my son’s independence. It gave him the chance to make mature decisions. It made him decide on certain matters that concerned his physical well-being.

It gave him a taste of the real world — a world where mom and dad are not always there to make things easy. 

I can say he was able to hold his own pretty well while we were still away. I couldn’t be more proud. 

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Welcome to adulthood. 

We arrived in Singapore –and the hospital — Friday morning, as originally planned. 🙂 

❤ ❤

More stories to tell… About the accident, our visit, and our extended stay. Do stay tuned! 

 

photo credits: Most of the photos were sent to us by my son…Because truly, why wouldn’t one want to document something as exciting as this?! 😉 

 

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Why I am Thankful

beautiful…
simply beautiful

I spent the day with my dad visiting his doctors — three of them to be exact — for his scheduled consult.

It has been almost a year since he had that routine colonoscopy where his doctor discovered several tumors in his large intestine.  Right away he was advised to have a surgery for the tumors to be removed.  After they removed the tumors, a biopsy was made and eventually we were told that he had cancer.  To be more precise, my dad was diagnosed to have Stage 3 Colon Cancer.

His surgeon explained that they were able to take the tumors out, along with the nodes surrounding that part of his large intestine.  But one node tested to be positive of having cancer cells.  So my dad was referred to an oncologist for “preventive” measures — that is, to arrest the scattering of cancer cells in his body.

Our world seemed to have turned upside down.

***

My dad has always been our pillar of strength.  He has a very positive outlook in life, his faith in the Almighty being his anchor during tough times,  and he has always, ALWAYS been there for me and my siblings — guiding, protecting, supporting.  He is what his label is — a father.  So when we learned that he was physically ill, we were all at a loss.  Our main question then was, “What now? What do we do?”

Yes, we were fearful.  I was fearful.  And I had a lot of questions.  How can this strong man be sick?  Who will hold our family together should anything happen to him?  Why him?  Why now?  Why cancer?

***

It was a rollercoaster year for our family.  My dad started with his chemotherapy treatment a month after his surgery.  He was supposed to have 8 cycles of combination IV treatment and oral medication.  He will be on medication for two weeks, have a week’s rest, then start the cycle all over.

The first three cycles were bearable.  His only complaint then was that he was losing his sense of taste — and his appetite, eventually.  It was getting harder and harder for him to take food in because he couldn’t taste anything but his medicine.

It was after his third cycle that the treatment started to take its toll in his immune system.  We had to rush him to the hospital due to intestinal problems.  He had a barrage of tests and the doctors searched high and low for whatever was causing the infection.  He stayed in the hospital for ten days.

He was told to rest from treatment for about two weeks after that.  Once his blood test had normalized, he then went back for another cycle of treatment.

After his fourth cycle, he contracted another infection.  Once again, he had to be hospitalized.  This time, he was there for almost two weeks.  He underwent all kinds of tests, they had to monitor his platelet count, at some point they had to do blood transfusion.

That was a very difficult time for all of us.  More than just being tired and weary, shuttling back and forth to the hospital, taking turns watching over him, there’s also the pain of seeing him lying on the hospital bed weak and frail.

***

It was after that hospitalization that his doctors decided to change his medication, remove the IV treatment and just retain his oral meds.  Their rationale being the combination treatment is just making him weaker, keeping him from living.

He continued taking his oral medication for another four cycles.  He didn’t have any episode of threats to his immune system and eventually he began eating well, his appetite little by little had gone back to normal.  He also started gaining back the pounds he had lost.

After several months and several blood tests, my dad’s blood count (RBC, WBC, platelets) had gone back to normal.  His tumor marker lies between the normal reference range.

His doctors told us that, as of this moment, my dad is cleared of cancer.

***

It was quite a year for all of us.  First the shock that the news of my dad’s ailment had brought really caught us offguard.  It has caught me offguard.

It’s like, there I was, living my day-to-day life, concerning myself with such mundane issues, then BAM! we are told that someone in the family is sick… someone had cancer.  And then the reality hit me — I am not in control of the things that are to happen.  There are things that I cannot do anything about.

It can happen to anybody, at any given time… even at the times least expected.

You try to be strong, yet you know that you have so many unanswered questions.  You keep your faith in Someone bigger than you, yet you still find yourself in one corner at times, doubting and asking what if everything goes not the way you hoped or wanted?

Yet you still keep the faith.  You hope, you pray and you stand in faith because you know that your faith will see you through.

***

I am thankful because of the good news that my dad’s doctors gave us today.

I am thankful because despite everything we have been through, our family stood strong and stayed together.

I am thankful because although there’s sickness in this world, there’s also cure… and there are people (may the heavens bless them) who will share their knowledge, their support and their care to help you get through whatever it is you are going through.

I am thankful for life.

I am thankful for hope.

I am thankful for tomorrow, simply because I know that it is a brand new day.

***

photo via google images