When we hold a clinic in an underserved area, we never know who will walk through our doors. Each patient has a need that we are eager to meet. But there are some patients whose needs require special attention. One such patient was Maia, whose mother tells the story in her own words:
Mother’s Day was coming and my heart was filled with joy with the gift I am about to receive. It was the 11th of May 2013. I remembered holding this tiny miracle in my hand. I have never seen such a beautiful sight such as my Maia Ingrid. Moments before cradling her in my arms, I was assured that she is of perfect health. It is as much as a blessing to hear that this little child will soon come home with us.
Call it maternal instinct but for the weeks that passed, I have noticed something different with my little girl. I have handled all of my children hands-on and only Maia had such difficulty in having bowel movement. People around me would dismiss it as a phase but I knew better. Without hesitation, I brought her to a pediatrician for a check-up. My heart sank when the doctor wasn’t able to give me a concrete answer except to recommend me to see a pediatric surgeon.
“Rectovaginal Fistula” that was the term the pediatric surgeon told us that Maia had. Instead of having her bowel content discharge through the anus, it leaks through the fistula, which then allows gas and/or stool to pass through the vagina. Everything was a blur after that. All I heard was that she needed a series of operations to have it corrected to live a normal life.
With Maia’s health and our current financial constraints in mind, I was deflated but I had to keep on fighting like I did with David, my eldest son that passed away a few years back. I cannot lose one more child. By faith, we went to the National Children’s Hospital (Philippines) hoping to avail a slot for a Colostomy for Maia. This was the first operation in a series of three that she has to avail. We didn’t have much back then so going to and fro from the hospital was a must. I remember having to ride the public bus with Maia at seven in the morning just to have her name signed up for an appointment at nine that very same morning day. That was just the beginning of the long wait we had to endure in a crammed hospital so we can avail a checkup at one in the afternoon on a good day. In most days, availing help was rough. I remember staying up until night with Maia in my arms…uncomfortable and cold…just to be informed that the doctor was unavailable after all.
Days become months, finally after a series of checkups that assured the surgeons that Maia’s pulmonary health was in top shape, she was scheduled for a Colostomy operation. It was the 9th of May 2014. My daughter was finally wheeled out of the operating room. My fervent prayers were answered. A healthy part of her large intestine was drawn outside of her abdominal wall to drain her stool through a bag. I knew back then that the fight for her recovery was just starting.
We had to endure numerous attempts to have Maia signed up again for a follow up operation. Maia, on the other hand, had to endure the discomfort of having a stoma and a bag protruding from her tummy. Her movement were limited. She cannot play with her older brother, Elijah, nor can she go outside to interact with other children. I had a fear that she will either be bullied by her current condition or she might acquire an infection that might worsen her health. When our finances cannot handle her essential needs like the colostomy bag, we had to make do with using tissue paper and gauze until my husband’s salary comes. During this time, God was my comfort and refuge. I cried when everybody was sleeping because come morning, I have to put on a façade of strength for my daughter.
Ailments like diarrhea can be very detrimental to her well-being. She often gets too dehydrated that she barely responds to us. Through it all, prayer and the promises of God are my weapons. He said He will never leave nor forsake me. Though I am shaky at most times. I just held on to this belief.
I will not forget the 17th of March, 2015. This was when I felt God’s overwhelming intervention in my family’s life. I would go to medical missions as usual to avail free checkup for my daughter. It was the second day of the Medical Mission Outreach at Calvary Baptist Church. With my daughter in my arms, I went for a consultation for her cough that morning. When asked about the medical condition of my child, I related it to the attending physician as I usually do. I cannot contain my surprise when Mrs. Michelle Gormley called us by name. After talking to me about Maia’s condition she lead us directly to Bradley.
I wasn’t expecting much at that time but God has better plans for my little one. I was dumbfounded when Bradley offered to aid us with Maia’s operation. God was working in leaps and bounds in the days that came after. On the 19th of March, that very same week, we had a consultation with a Filipino doctor that connected us with Dr. Dexter Aison, Pediatric Surgeon of PCMC. Maia had her two consecutive surgeries on the 11th of April and the 26th of June, 2015.
It was God, undoubtedly, Who has lead us to meet Ma’am Michelle and Bradley at the Medical Mission. One by one, He has sent us people to lend a hand in the healing and recovery of Maia at the right moment and place. Today, Maia is one healthy little girl who attends pre-school at Maharlika Day Care Center. I cannot stop thanking God for performing a miracle that I have witnessed first hand. God can heal, can bless and can redeem what was broken in His beautiful time.
We praise the Lord for all that He’s done in little Maia’s life. Thank you for your support that allows us to take action in a case like this. Will you pray for the patients who will come to our clinics in 2019? The lines will form soon, and there are so many others in desperate need of help. We can’t wait to get there and introduce them to the Great Physician.