In the Philippines, we have sari-sari stores — small shops usually attached to a person’s home, selling different sorts of goods. As a child, I dreamt of having my own, but I guess this is the closest I’m ever going to come to it. Sharing different stories — sari-sari stories — most especially from my experiences and learnings as a daughter of the King of Kings, as wife of my husband King, and as mom to our three princesses. 😊
When we got home from the hospital, Noelle surprised her sister (and us) with a video. She doesn’t want the video shared, but she gave me permission to share what she said in written form. 🙂
I am really inspired by my sister that she really is…..love. Even though she doesn’t hug me and she doesn’t even kiss me, I still love her. She’s part of my heart. Well, I want her to hear this because I love her so much (about to cry so she stopped the video).
Ate, you are a loving, kind sister. Whenever someone hurts you, I defend you. And even though you don’t defend me, you’re still here (puts her hand on her chest). You’re still my big sis. I pray that you were well when you had your surgery. I’m sorry for all the things that I have done to you, for all the bad things I’ve done to you. Um, if you’re listening, I want to say this. You..are…my….you are a part of my heart. I love you so much ate. Please forgive me for all bad things I’ve done to you and I pray for you that you were okay when you did your surgery, and….. thank you for being my big sister and for always caring for me. And like that time when you were going to (sniff) share the candy with me…. I was like, no it’s fine but you still gave me (sniff, holding back tears). I think you don’t remember this because it was a long long time ago. Sigh. I wanna say this again, you are part of my heart. You are my big sis. I love you and…. makes a heart shape with her hands. Blows a kiss….I love you. Hugs and kisses by me (flips hair)! I relly really really want to show you that I love you even though I make mistakes and I hit you, I’m sorry. Well I hope it’s not too late to say sorry…….
And I wanna keep on saying this again and again. I love you, you’re a part of my heart. And whenever you you get hurt by someone, I’m like, just come with me. And whenever she cries, I cry. You also inspire me to do like good things, and also you…. when I say to you ate “does this look nice?” and then you’re like you have to change. That’s fine….. because you know, you’re older than me. Whenever you say you’re the boss of me, I don’t like it. But you are older than me, so I don’t consider you as a boss. I consider you as a big sister. I love you. Blows a kiss.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The first time I encountered “it” was when Danae was around 2 years old. She wasn’t in any pain. She was actually just singing her heart out in the shower. I immediately called my aunt, who is a pediatrician, and she confirmed my fears. “It” was a hernia. I instantaneously cried over the phone, knowing that surgery was the only way to fix it. I did not want my baby to have to go through something like that.
But because it never gave her any problems — no pain, no changes in her bodily functions — and because I guess we were foolishly hoping it would resolve on its own, it took us 8 years to finally consult a pedia surgeon. The birth defect (not an injury) needed to be closed so that she could safely do gymnastics and other activities. Though it was not an emergency situation, we wanted it done a.s.a.p.
I believe in the Lord’s timing, and I believe that though it seems late, Danae’s surgery was done at the right time. She’s more mature now, and she understands why it was necessary. She has always been brave, but God supplied her with so much courage and grace to endure this. I had to put a brave face on for her the whole time because I am not brave! With so many thoughts entering my head and fears threatening to disable me, I enlisted our family and a lot of friends to pray for and with us. That, and the peace of God that transcends understanding, certainly kept me standing.
There was no question that I would be the one staying with Danae in the hospital, and King would be shuttling back and forth to hospital and home. I’m so thankful that when it comes to family matters like this, it’s never hard for King to ask for a leave. It became a time of bonding for me and Danae. She got to have mommy (and daddy at certain hours) all to herself. I was happy to serve and help her. The two younger ones were safe at home with my mom during the day and with King in the evening.
When it was time to have her IV inserted, she was afraid. My outgoing, brave, confident, independent young lady became a timid, nervous, needy baby who wanted mommy to hug and hold her as they put the needle in. She cried in pain. She cried also through the pesky skin test. I wanted to cry too haha, but I was the adult. I needed to be strong for her. I just kept comforting her, encouraging her. It was late, but when she asked for TV, I obliged. As my mom advised, I helped keep her spirits up.
In the morning, while waiting, the anesthesiologist came in. All this time (I even signed papers to consent to it), we thought she would be given General Anesthesia. They could, but because of the asthma factor, it was more risky having a tube in her throat. Apparently that’s how GA is administered. They put you to sleep and then insert a tube in your throat for the gas to go through. When the anesthesiologist suggested spinal anesthesia, since she is physically big enough for it (he said that she’s big for her age — he should see a lot of her taller friends haha), I was not able to hide my apprehension. That was the same anesthesia I received, giving birth to Gianna. Could my Danae handle that? But the doctor assured us that they would do what we were most comfortable with. Thank God we had time to decide. Thank God King was there. I would never want to make major decisions like that on my own. We agreed that spinal anesthesia was safest for Danae.
As she was being wheeled from her room to the surgery unit, she kept calling me, making sure I was right with her. She wanted me to be the one in the waiting area with her, and in the recovery room afterwards. I asked the anesthesiologist if he could sedate her while still in the waiting area, and he was kind enough to do it. He understood that Danae was nervous about being wheeled into the OR without me. He even agreed with me in prayer when I prayed for Danae while he was putting the sedative in her IV.
About an hour and a half later, surgery was done. I was right outside the door when they called for Lucero. The surgeon met me inside, told me that it took longer than expected because her hernia was so small. She said that small hernias are more dangerous because intestines are more likely to get trapped. God’s grace right there! Nothing of the sort happened to Danae all these years! The surgeon was happy also to say that Danae didn’t even flinch when the spinal anesthesia was given to her. She did great!
When I saw Danae, however, I saw her eyes closed but wet with tears. She kept talking but tears kept running down her cheek. I knew she wasn’t in pain, but I guess she was feeling overwhelmed. She couldn’t stop her tears from falling. I encouraged her to sleep, but she didn’t want to in the first hour. She needed to lay flat on her back for 6 hours. We also needed to wait for the anesthesia to wear off. She was hungry, but she eventually slept. She kept repeating that she was hungry when she would wake up. I would fall in and out of sleep too. At times I’d read. I’d pray for the others who were there in the recovery room. 6 hours is a looooong time to wait on a monobloc chair. But I thank God that because Danae’s a child, she was allowed company.
Back in her room, she said she was happy that the surgery is over. Whew, me too!!!! We thanked God for everything. None of it would have been possible without Him. I was happy that the operation was a success, that her vitals were stable the entire time, that there are no complications, and that SHE’S ALIVE. Today, she is recovering very well. Praise God. 🙂
Through the 3 short days, my daughter learned to be more grateful. She thanked me each time I helped her ❤ ❤ ❤ . I don’t think I’ve ever received so many sincere thank yous that are not because of something material. On the way home, during a moment of quiet inside the car, she said “Thank You Lord.” That was probably the most sincere and meaningful prayer of thanks I ever heard her say. Indeed, our whole family thanks You, Lord. ❤
Thank you so much, family and friends, for standing with us in prayer. Thank you for checking on us as well. God bless each of you.
Click here and here for Danae’s take on her experience. 🙂
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. PSalm 136:1
This was surgery day. I wasn’t that scared to get my surgery. I was just calm and normal. My schedule was at 9 or 10 am. But I ended up getting it at 12pm, because a man had hernia too. One doctor said that while getting his surgery, they saw something in his hernia that they didn’t expect to see. That was about 9 in the morning. I couldn’t eat, because they don’t want me to throw up after my surgery. While my mom was eating my breakfast I stared at her. I was so hungry!! A while later a boy nurse, ( EEWW!! ) came into the room and said it’s time na ( But in tagalog ). He pushed my rolling bed to the waiting room. When the anesthesiologist came, he said that he had to insert the sedative in my IV already. He said it would hurt a bit and feel hot, and it did. As I said bye to my mom I was already dizzy. I heard nurses say we’ll put this and that, but I couldn’t see them. While I was getting my surgery I had weird dreams. I dreamt of colorful things and weird animals going through colorful walls. I kinda woke up during the operation, I knew I was awake but couldn’t see. I felt pushing, pulling, and pain in my body, and I think every 5 minutes a machine pumped the BP thing on my arm. I tried opening my eyes while I was sleepy, and all I saw was a big green curtain on my neck, in front of me. But it was hard since the anesthesia was still strong. And I think I heard my anesthesiologist say “Good job, Danae.”
After the operation I saw my mom and told her all my weird dreams. She told me I was very talkative. I couldn’t lift my legs and I was very hungry. I couldn’t eat for 22 hours!! I cried because some doctors still had to see me and it was already 6 or 7 pm that time. My mom got annoyed a little bit, but she reminded me that it was ok and we would be out in no time. When they brought me to my room, I felt pain. I think it was because there were humps going to my room. AND AT LAST I COULD EAT!! I ate the soup from the hospital and cup noodle soup ( but not the noodles ). A doctor came again to check on me and said that I could eat anything I wanted. Again nurses came in when I was asleep.
Time to go Home!! – Day 3
At last!! Time to get out of the hospital!! I could finally sit, stand, walk a little. I felt very happy and scared at the same time, but I learned a lot while I was in the hospital. I learned that God is always with you and I learned patience. I learned that because sometimes there are delays and sometimes I feel scared. I am very thankful that my surgery is done! I wanted to walk normally but I knew I couldn’t. I’ll be patient. I’ll wait. I’m excited that I’ll be able to do gymnastics and add to my talents.
On our way home we got some Starbucks.
Hahaha. Disclaimer: I tried to be discreet about eating! I was soooo hungry. She was hungry, too. Worse, breakfast was bacon and egg! I thought I was hiding it well, till she asked me what was for breakfast. But she was mentally and emotionally prepared. I already prepped her the day before, told her that she needed to power through the hunger because they really will not allow her to eat even if she cries. She knew that it was for her own good. 🙂
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
It was August 15 of last year when King had a herniated or slipped disc. He was hospitalized for 10 long days, the first 3 of which he could not stand or walk. The proxy orthopedic surgeon was honest with us about our options that physical therapy might help King, but his case already called for surgery. Aside from the disc being slipped and protruding, causing it and making it prone to hit a nerve, we were told that it was deteriorated. This meant therapy would help King’s spine cope, but it will not reverse the effects. Only through surgery, removing and replacing the disc with a titanium cage, was it going to get better.
I remember it clearly. The day he was brought back to the room from an MRI was the first time my kids and I saw King cry out in pain. The nurses were somehow not in sync as they tried to move King from the gurney to his bed. Danae cried for her dad. I couldn’t. My heart was heavy and my eyes were welling up, but I could not let the tears flow. I had to be strong for her and for King. (Noelle was 2, and not as empathic as Danae 🙂 )
I think I was scared then, but it was such a mixture of emotions that maybe I didn’t want to dwell too much on the awful possibilities. I was too busy taking care of everybody anyway. There was too much to do.
We were so pleased when King started making progress by the 3rd day, wherein he slowly sat up. By the 4th day, he was able to sit up and walk ever so slowly. We were already leaning towards forgetting about surgery, because therapy was working really well for us.
On the 8th day, our orthopedic surgeon (not the proxy) came by to check on King. Without establishing a relationship with his patient first since he was out of town during our first week, he casually told King that he had no other option but surgery. When I excitedly said that King was already walking, he told me that “walking is easy. It’s going back to the normal things that’s going to be a problem.”
I was stunned. We had already gone from sadness at the thought of King no longer being able to do sports or carry his daughters, to being in faith, excited for God’s miracle. He was like the Grim Reaper, spreading hopelessness and despair. Or the likes of a Dr. Gloom, bringing clouds of darkness in our bright, happy room. I was just stunned. I barely said another word after that, but we told him that we were sticking with therapy. No to surgery.
Today the 25th of August, marks the anniversary of King’s exit from the hospital. And I am so happy to tell you that he has been doing great! We continued a few weeks of therapy after we went home, but that was it. By October last year, we traveled out of town, which obviously required some lifting and a lot of walking. By December last year, he danced with the pastors on stage. By February this year, we traveled out of town again. By summer, he started running, playing basketball, and dancing with the Xbox. By June, he was also able to play badminton. By July, we traveled out of town and he hiked up a steep hill.
It’s been a year of King going back to the normal things he does, albeit more careful than before.
It’s been a year of no surgery, no additional therapy, and no recurrences.
It has been a year of healing, a year of God’s faithfulness in our lives.
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Please do read past posts about King’s slipped disc: