They live in a small shanty in a place called Gasangan, one of the most depressed areas in Baseco Compound, Port Area, Manila.
I was a brand new fieldworker then (Thanks to Ms. Eunice Cheng-Chua for my job, and of course Ms. Maya of Maya’s Hope for the great opportunity).
I was tasked to handle medical interventions of children especially for surgeries like imperforate anus, hernia, Hirschprung disease, tongue-tie, Macroglossia, cystic hygroma, hydrocephalus, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome.
J-wel? Ah, she’s a timid little girl, with a cute expensive smile (I say expensive because she only smiles whenever I give her something to eat!) and laughing eyes but I guess, her timid character is caused by the colostomy bag that she carries wherever she goes.
It’s been the cause of her tantrums and lack of confidence – thus playing with other kids in the neighborhood is simply next to impossible.
She’s been a victim of bullying because of her medical issues.
That was before her pull-through and colostomy closure operation. Now, things will be different.
Tracking the journey of J-wel has never been easy.
We started doing check-ups on January 25, 2021, for her pull-through procedure.
Monitoring her blood chemistry, X-ray, pediatric clearance to be sure that her body can bear all the procedures that the surgeon will perform. She had her pull-through operation last March.
It was a success and then she had to prepare for the closure.
She underwent heart checkups like Electrocardiogram and 2D echo but a week after the distal colonogram at Manila Med, she was rushed to a nearby hospital due to low potassium.
There was again a series of laboratories, blood extraction, X-ray, and de-worming because there was an invasion of parasites inside her digestive tract.
We monitored her health and wellness by giving her milk and vitamins until she gained some weight (She went from 11.3 kilograms to 14.8 in three months) – just in time for her colostomy closure.
On the 4th month after her pull-through procedure, the much-awaited colostomy closure surgery took place.
It was difficult for her because her cardiac rhythm had to be monitored for her weak heart condition.
After a week, she was discharged – and the rest is history.
I’m just trying to imagine how naughty and playful this little girl will be, now that she has had her colostomy closure. Running to and fro with her neighborhood chums.