Anna's journey 💙
A few years back when she was only less than a month old, we started her casting sessions. I thought we're being handled correctly but little did I know that we spent more than three years for almost... nothing.
We travelled from Cainta to Banawe, QC every week for more than three years. There even came a time that they wanted to speed up the process so we followed all recommendations. We went back twice a week for more than 2 months for her casting. Finally, a few months after her 3rd birthday, Anna had undergone her first surgery.
After her surgery, it seemed that nothing had changed aside from straightening her feet. Its still a bit bent inwards and still, tiptoe. She can't walk at all. Plus, she developed "knocked knees". We went back a month after her surgery for follow up and all the frustrations came running down on me. They want to have her undergo casting AGAIN. By then, I totally lost my trust with the people I thought knows the best for her.
I started researching. I read books, online references, joined support groups for clubfoot treatment, seek medical advice with different specialists. Then came Dr. Rizza Lyn Santos. A rehab medicine doctor at Medical City. I honestly told her I am losing hope. She asked every detail starting from Anna's birth up until her last treatment. She told me, "Mali ang naging proseso pero wag ka magalala mommy. Maglalakad sya in 3-6 months time. Longest may be 1 year." For some reason, I'm skeptic but still I gave it a shot.
She introduced us to bracing, the same one Forrest Gump has on the movie. She measured Anna's xrays to come up with a comprehensive plan. Anna had bracing and physical therapy. I cannot almost believe it! Anna started walking in just a month. :)
6 months after, I noticed something not so good. Anna had a relapse. Her feet almost went back to its clubfoot position. Dr. Santos told us to seek an advice from a Pediatric-Orthosurgeon again, someone who specializes with spine and ponsetti. Luckily, I came across this fb support group with moms whose children also have the same condition. I was then introduced to Dr. Cielo Balce.
Dr. Balce, for me is one of the best in her field. Aside from having a heart of gold, her skills are beyond comparison. She thoroughly did an initial assessment of Anna's condition from my pregnancy down until the time Anna learned to walk at 3 years old. She ordered for a TLS Spine MRI which costs 35,000 at CSMC.
Days after results were released, one of the biggest surprise in my life came. Anna has syringomyelia - a rare condition causing cysts/tumors in her spine. I lost it. Depression ate me. I can't sleep can't even a have a good meal, can't find a good reason to take care of myself. I was even awake for 3 days straight. I battled depression & cardiac arrythmia while working and while taking care of everything else. Its beyond exhausting.
Still, life goes on. While fighting depression, I religiously brought Anna to the doctor for casting. We were told it'll be 7 sessions. Casting will be done weekly. After we completed it, Anna had undergone her second surgery at 5 yrs old. It was tough. Fortunately, the surgery was successful. Anna was able to walk straight & she's not tiptoe anymore. :)
Between those castings, therapies and surgeries, Anna also had a hard time with her health. There were times we missed her treatment sessions because she'll be admitted due to food intolerance and UTI. She was admitted thrice in 2014, admitted 6 times in 2015 and 5 times in 2016 (Surgeries excluded).
Now, it all made sense. Her deteriorating health during those hospitalizations in between her ortho treatment was because of her spine problem which was never tested & diagnosed at the first hospital we went to. This time, I fully trust all the specialists whose handling Anna. Her Pediatrician who always direct us to the best specialists, her Orthosurgeon who has a very clear path on what to take for her feet, her Neurosurgeon who has closely monitored Anna's case, her Urologist who only wants to have the best treatment for her age and her rehab doctor who first believed she can make it.
To this day, we're still here. We don't know what future holds. We don't know how long this will be but I won't give up. If I'll start losing hope again, I promise to look back as to how far we've made it to keep me motivated at ALL times. Above it all, I promise to keep my faith always.
Here's a quick math:
(This is only for medical expenses) 🙂
Casting - P1000 to 1500 (materials) EVERY week
Pf - free
Surgery - P28,000 to 30,000 (Under charity ward - deduction is 70%)
Pf - free
Lab tests - ranging from P100 to P1500 (per test, depending on the doctor's request)
Therapy - P1500 to P1800 EVERY session, thrice a week
Bracing - P13,500
Pf - P600 per session
Lab tests - ranging from P300 to P3,500 (per test, depending on the doctor's request)
Casting - P2000 (P1000 each leg) EVERY week for 7 weeks
Therapy - P800 per session
Pf - P600
MRI (1st) - P35,000
MRI (2nd) - will be approx 30,000 to 38,000
Kidney ultrasound - P7000 to P8000
Lab tests - ranging from P300 to 6000 (per test, depending on the doctor's request)
Surgery - P50,000 (inclusive of pf)
Urodynamics - P27,000 (Under charity & Philhealth deductions, total amount paid : P7000)
Catetherization every 4 hours, round the clock, will only stop if the doctor says so. It may take years or even a lifetime.
Recently after her second MRI was done, she's endorse to another MRI with contrast now bec of the progressive symptoms of her condition. MRI will cost around 20,000 to 40,000.