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The Day That Changed My Life

The Day That Changed My Life

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Published by Lia Espina Lopez

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: Lia Espina Lopez on May 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/05/2015

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In 36 hours, we attended a house warming, found a tumor inLia's spine, and then had it removed...unforgettable weekend.*Updated below* (May 28, 2010)Friday night, May 14, 2010, Lia and I attended Miko andJackie's house warming. We decided to sleep over at their newplace, so that it will be nearer to Ateneo where we will beattending our CEFAM Pre-Wedding Seminar at 8am the next day.We had a fun night with friends, good food and good company.At 4am, while preparing to go to bed, Lia was on her way outof the bathroom when she fainted and hit her head hard on thebathroom door. I ran to pick her up and found her unconscious.After about 5 seconds, she came to and asked me "What happenedto me?". I told her "You fainted and hit your head". Shesuddenly had a panicked look in her face and said "I can'tmove! I can't breathe! Help me!" I carried her dead weight tothe bed and started to calm her down. She was in a panic,mouthing words but no voice coming out. Crying and shouting,but no sound. I tried to pinch and poke her arms and legs, butshe couldn't feel anything. After 2 minutes, she started toget her voice back and started moving her right hand and rightleg. But she couldn't move her left arm and leg. That was whenwe decided to go to the hospital.I rushed her to the ER of Medical City in Ortigas. The initialdiagnosis of the doctors was a possible "young stroke". Thesymptoms of one-sided paralysis and the sudden onset waspointing them in that direction. But after several bloodtests, a clean CT Scan, and several physical and reflex teststhey did not know what was wrong. Some of them just said thatit could be that she was just in shock, since there were noother symptoms like headaches or pain in the head. Liamentioned that there was a slight pain the left part of herneck that was not too painful, but was bothering her enough.This led to one doctor requesting for a MRI of the neck areajust to be sure. Those who know Lia will know that she hasalways been curious and wanted to try out getting a MRI justfor kicks She even wanted to save up for it. So, even if weconsidered that the cost was high, and she probably wouldn'tneed it, we decided to push thru with it anyway just so thatshe could experience it finally.While waiting for the results, I called her family and mine toinform them that we were in the hospital, but it wasn't so badand that there was no need to rush over. I even said that wewould probably be done in a few hours after she calms down andis given medication. I even stayed in the MRI viewing room fora while with the doctors just to check out how cool it was,like in House. I also met an old friend in high school Dr.Iris Carpio who apparently is a neurologist and was one of theguys in charge to read Lia's MRI images. They said it wasgoing to take at least 45 min, I got bored and went out to thewaiting area and sat down. Then after a while, Dr. Carpio
 
walked out and called out to me. Thinking that he wanted tocatch up, I started talking to him and ask him how he wasabout to update him on my life as well, but he stopped mesaying "I have something to tell you. We found a very big massin the base of Lia's skull, in between her skull and spinalcord and is putting pressure on the spinal cord." I was inshock..."Are you sure?" He said that they had checked andrechecked and something is definitely there. After a few moreminutes of testing, he came back out and confirmed with methat indeed, it was a tumor, and it was a very big tumor thatis in one of the worst places it could be. 1. It was inbetween the spinal cord and skull, so removing it will be verydifficult since there is a chance of hitting something andmaking things worse possibly leaving her completely paralyzed.2. It is in the area of the medulla oblongata the part of thebody that controls autonomic functions like breathing, heartrate and blood pressure which in Lia's case was droppingsignificantly at the moment. He continued on with more badnews by saying that it's possible that Lia's breathing wouldbe impaired at any moment, and to prepare for that she had tobe intubated. This is a process where you insert a plastictube down her mouth all the way into her lungs and thenconnect that tube to a machine that will breathe for her. Hementioned that this was very uncomfortable for a person who isconscious, but will have to be done. With no other choice,they proceeded with the intubation, which Lia absolutelyhated. It was very painful for me to see her in so much painand discomfort. Add this to the fact that she couldn't talkbecause of the tube and couldn't move half of her body, so shecan't explain to us or tell us how she felt. It was a very,very sad and painful sight. It brought tears to the eyes ofour families, and especially her mom to see her like that.Later on, she was transferred to the ICU, where she can beclosely monitored. We spoke with the attending neurologist whotold us that we needed to speak with a neuro-surgeon asap,since there should be no time to waste in trying to get thetumor out, and hopefully save whatever control Lia had withher body. Later that afternoon we spoke with the neuro-surgeon. He was a very confident doctor who had very goodbedside manner and was very professional. I instantly had agood vibe with him, plus I saw it as a sign that his name wasDr. Lopez. He gave us the details and risks of the operationand gave us time to think it over, but told us that we reallydidn't have any other option but to operate to take it out. Hetold us that there is still a 20% risk for things to go wrong,such as additional or complete paralysis, or even death. Theconsensus was to go ahead with the operation, and it wasscheduled at 7am the next day.That night was the worst for Lia. She was just waiting for theoperation, but she was in the worst condition she could havebeen, and in pain. The tube that was down her throat wasbothering her so much, and was causing gag reflex, andsometimes even to throw up with nothing coming out. Shecouldn't swallow her own saliva so she had to have a nurse
 
suction it out every now and then. The left side of her bodywould get numb and painful. Some time within the night, theleft side of her body started shaking uncontrollably. It wasfound out that the left side was getting cold and was havingchills, but Lia didnt know and couldn't do anything about itbecause she couldn't feel it. We did our best to make it ascomfortable for her as we can, but it was really bad. It wasvery painful to see her like this and know that she had toendure it through the night. She hardly slept a wink, with allthese wires and tubes sticking out of her body, and thesemachine beeping non-stop scaring her even more. It didn't helpeither that the ICU didn't allow us to stay with her for mostof the night. I tried to go to the chapel, but for some reasonit was closed. I tried to look for church nearby, but Christthe King was closed, I didn't know churches close, I alwaysassumed they were open the whole time. I ended up back in thehospital, outside the doors of the chapel and praying therewaiting for morning.5am, I was able to go back to ICU, as they were starting toprep her for the operation. She was awake and tired coz shehardly had any sleep. She was starting to get anxious andscared, knowing the operation was near. She started to panic,thinking that she will be paralyzed forever. The doctors toldus that it was twice as scary for her, since she actuallyknows how it feels to be completely paralyzed as she felt itright after she hit her head. We did our best to calm herdown, and give her hope and faith. We told her of all thefriends and family who have been sending messages from allaround the world, that they were sending their support andtheir prayers. We told her how our friends had researched herdoctor doing the surgery, and that he was one of the top 4neuro surgeons in the Philippines and that he had hisfellowship in Columbia University in New York and how therewere 2 other similar cases as hers, and both ended withpositive results. But it was still very hard for her, as herpanic and anxiety grew.The time had come, 7am. We were wheeling her down to theoperating room. We were all scared. I tried as much as I canto talk to her casually, trying not to show any fear in myface, trying not to shed a tear. People who really know meknow how hard this was for me. I tried to hold everything backas much as I can. Family members took turns to talk to her andshow their support, praying over her, holding her hand andwhispering in her ear promises that everything will bealright. She couldn't stop crying. Then when she was ready,she gave the sign to go ahead...we wheeled her to the lastdoor, I told her how much I love her and I'll be waiting forher when she gets back. Once those doors closed, I broke down.We headed over to the chapel to pray, then headed back to thewaiting area. I kept looking at my watch expecting hours hadpassed, but it was mostly around 10min. We waited for a littleover 5 hours, the longest 5 hours of my life.. I was waitingoutside the operating room when I saw her doctor. He called to

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