I am alive. And thriving.
By Eugene Valdez, CFC FFL Michigan, USA
On her 5th month of pregnancy with our third child, my wife Wang’s ultrasound showed abnormality in our baby’s head. Hydrocephalus was confirmed to be developing. Maybe due to the history of such cases in the Philippines, Wang was advised that she still had the choice not to continue with the pregnancy. Not knowing what to do, we tried to seek for a second opinion, only to hear the same recommendations. Only then did we decide that it is not up to us anymore and that if God will take our baby from us after birth, then so be it.
I could not remember anymore how a friend of a friend told us to go to the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital to seek for a third opinion. We ended up at the clinic of Dr. Miguel – a specialist on these kinds of pregnancies. She told us the same things that the previous doctors said. The only difference was the glimmer of hope that she offered. She never told us that we should discontinue the pregnancy. But she was also very transparent in informing us about the expenses that we will need to shoulder. Crippled with the limited money we were making back then, my wife and I told ourselves that we have to do this and this is the only way. We relayed our decision to Dr. Miguel. We wanted to keep our baby.
One day, I received a call from Dr. Miguel telling me that my wife needed to have the baby in two days and that I needed to prepare at least P60,000.00 to a maximum of P100,000.00 (up to $2,000.00++) since the baby needed to be delivered by C section because of a cyst found on her back, right above the waist (Myelomeningocele). I told her that I didn’t have the money at that time but would try my best to come up with it.
To our surprise, the delivery was performed and we were not charged a dime for anything. It turned out that Dr. Miguel was just trying to assess how much we wanted this to happen and told us that we will still need the money for antibiotics and other surgery afterwards. God is good! Eugene “Missy” Valdez was born on June 8th 2002.
Missy’s trials didn’t end there. In fact, it was just the beginning. She was born with the cyst that needed to be removed and closed. Within a week, they did the first surgery. They also told us that a shunt needed to be put in her head to drain excessive fluids in her brain and also to reduce the pressure that was already building up. Money was again a major concern. We tried to come up with the money for the shunt. As soon as I told them that I had the money, they did the surgery and to our surprise again, a resident in the hospital donated a shunt and we didn’t need to pay for anything extra but to keep the money because the baby would need at least a month worth of antibiotics that would cost at least one thousand a day. God is Awesome!
One month passed. With the continuous administering of antibiotics, no infections developed. Then, the pediatricians told us that they couldn’t do anything more and that we had to take the baby home and continue giving the antibiotics there. One pediatrician even told me that with this kind of case, typically babies live only from 3 to 6 months due to infections. And if the baby still lives after that, we will have to prepare ourselves in our daughter’s 1st, 4th and 7th year because infections would still typically develop.
Missy turned 9 years old this year. All glory be to God!
In April 2007, I was able to bring them here to the U.S. and in December of that same year she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma – a cancerous tumor that developed just above her adrenal glands. She had a successful surgery last January 2008 and has been cancer free since then. God is Superb!
She had to undergo a couple more surgeries for her teeth and feet correction but despite everything that she had to go through, Missy continues to be a source of strength for us all. A very happy girl with a passionate love for life, she is a constant reminder of how much God cares for us. Her life itself is a miracle and is a testament of His love and faithfulness to our family. Whenever we find ourselves in one of life’s dull moments, we just look at her and instantly we are reminded of how blessed we already are. To God be the glory!
Editor’s Note: Missy is an active KFL member in Michigan, USA. Her parents are Eugene and Wang Valdez.