Sunday, September 24, 2006

Star for all seasons

"Be still, and know that I am God..."1

I've been pondering on this verse for an article I needed to work on. But my thoughts are far, far away. Be still and know that He is God! Hello, me!

Indeed, He is God! He is in control of everything. He has always been. I've seen over and over again His faithfulness. One million times and one. Gazillion times, if you will. Why then, am I bothered?

You see, our dear little Star (the cute little girl in the photo) has been nose bleeding the past two weeks almost daily. Three times last Friday. Thank God, it has stopped the past two days. No more bleeding yesterday and today. (And thanks to all our family members and friends who've prayed for Star.)

I wasn't bothered by the nose bleeding the first week. We had grown used to it, Star especially. She has had episodes ever since she was a baby, usually when she has colds or when the temperature suddenly changes. Some of the episodes happen in school. Because she sort of "grew up" with it, she knows very well now how to handle it. She knows she has to bow her head (and not tilt it) and just pinch her nose/nostrils for a few minutes.2 After a while, it's gone.

Sometimes, Star no longer tells us when it happens. But the other week, on the third day that she had it in a row, she finally told me. "It's now the third day, mom," she calmly tells me. She probably realized it was no longer "normal" like her previous episodes.

I called up our family doctor. She advised us to bring Star to a hematologist just to be sure. Have her blood checked, she said. This doctor-friend has been Star's doctor since birth and she knows that our "baby" had anemia. She recommended a specialist at a Manila hospital but I don't like that hospital so I texted my friend Cathy instead, and asked for a referral. Cathy used to edit a medical magazine so I surmised she must know a hematogist. (Thank God for friends like her who knows the experts!) Turned out, Cathy's daughter P also has a similar thing. She adviced me to see P's ENT first. And so off to the ENT we go. It was a relief when the doctor said it was nothing. The culprit could just be some allergins. He gave Star Claritin, to be taken for a week.

When the bleeding didn't stop after the Claritin medication, we finally decided to bring Star to a hematologist. The hema recommended a blood test that included PT and PTT, whatever those are. Star was reluctant to go to the laboratory, knowing too well what it meant. Among our three kids, she's the "suki" of St. Lukes and the Children's Medical Center. Up until she was five, Star would be confined at least three times a year mostly for lung problems.

As we were waiting for her turn, she goes, "Mom, I'll just think happy thoughts so I won't be scared." Yeah, that's a very good idea, I said. This girl is really so cool. Her words of wisdom amazes me no end. When everybody else ran out of things to say, she would always go, "I know, I know" and blurt out words that mostly make us laugh.

When her turn came, she dutifully sat at the extraction chair. She wanted to sit on me like she used to when she was younger and smaller (and so was I.) But now that she's grown, we couldn't fit into the chair anymore. I sat a few feet away instead, watching her closely. Star was so quiet and would smile back at the medtech everytime she smiled at her. Then on the third round of extraction, tears started to flow from her eyes. I knew then she was already in pain, but she was so composed. Oh my baby, she's really still a baby.

While we were visiting the hematologist earlier that day, she asked me Star's history. Like her kuya and ate, Star was born prematurely.... she had anemia... was in and out of hospital mostly because of weak lungs (like most pre-term babies)... had her first nose bleeding episode when she was less than a month old...I went on and on...

When it came to family history, I enumerated all that normal families have -- asthma, highblood, heart problem, diabetes...Suddenly, it struck me. My mama died of bleeding. Yes, in fact, she died on the operating table. Her brother almost died of bleeding too while being operated on...Oh uh...

Having that realization and seeing Star's blood test results later jolted me. She has low platelet count, low hemoglobin or hematocrit (I'm not so sure anymore) and low in others I can't exactly remember now. Friday, she had three nose bleeding episodes.

I felt a tinge in my heart...Oh our baby, how can this be happening to her?

I learned that she woke up at 4:15am Friday. "I thought it was just my sipon so I went to the bathroom. But it was sticky and then I saw it was blood," she would tell me while dressing up for school that day. My husband was awaken by the rush of water at the bathroom and suspected that Star was nose bleeding again. And indeed, when he checked out, blood was still coming out of her nose. She had another episode two hours later and then another one late afternoon.

I felt so sad for my daugther. At such a young age, she has to go through this. But more than feeling sad for her, I realized I was beginning to be shaken. Sometimes, it's easier to deal with other "big" problems than problems of health especially of those those close to us. When it comes to our kids' health, I easily freak out.

I have yet to go back to Star's hematologist for the interpretation of the results. But God has gently reminded me in my quite time and as I read His words that He is always in control. Nothing is impossible with Him. No sickness too grave for Him to heal. We just need to ask Him. Whatever we are facing, whatever we are going through, we can always "command" Him to do it for us.

I like how L.B. Cowman said it, "What a distinction there is between this attitude (of knowing that we can 'command' God) and the hesitancy and uncertainty of our prayers of unbelief, to which we become so accustomed! The constant repetition of our prayers has also caused them to lose their sharp cutting edge."

Like Star, I can "think happy thoughts" knowing that I can always ask God even for what may seemingly be impossible. Yes, I will be still and know He is God.


  1. Hi, Andrea.

    I am certain Star will be okay. With your prayers and care, she is in very good hands.

    I know how it feels to have a child who has a medical condition. My Bagwis is your Star. At 9, Bagwis had open heart surgery. I was amazed by his courage going under the knife (and his heart stopped) at a very young age; and that's because he saw that he was loved, cared for, and surrounded by prayer warriors.

    Bagwis is fine now. Star will be just as brave.

    Funny that children cope better than adults!

  2. Hi! Andrea. I'm from the Philippines too. Would like to email you but couldn't find your email. If you don't mind email me yours. I would like to say something to you. By the way, I really am very sorry for Star, but I hope everything comes out to be okay. I had a niece once who also nosebleeds often when she was young. She also had her blood tested by a hemtologist and came out negative only later to find out that she had polyps inside her nose and those polyps are the cause of the bleeding.

  3. hi deedee and tita (friday's child)! thanks so much for the affirming words. star still has her bleeding episodes. the school nurse just called me a while ago to tell me she bled again. but star as she is, she handles her case really well.

    i guess we are just at a stage when kids are still sickly. ben, our eldest now has primary koch's infection. i'm sure everything will be fine soon. as always, everything begins and ends with God. and so, in God's hand we commit everything. :)

    ps. tita, my email is saw your site, it's cool. pls email me. thanks again!