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Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD): John Mark Gabriel Story

written by mom Mariam Gabriel

published on May 11, 2024

Just want to share the journey of our brave and resilient heart warrior, Maccoy...

Maccoy was born via normal delivery at full term, a surprise considering I was on depo contraceptive. Initially, he seemed fine, but soon after birth, it was discovered that he only had one testis. This led to a series of medical examinations, revealing not only his testicular anomaly but also a murmur in his heart and later, holes in his heart that required surgery for correction

Upon learning that Sotto Hospital was organizing a cardiac mission with a foreign doctor for training, we eagerly applied, hoping that Maccoy could finally receive his life-saving surgery. Since 2018, we had been applying for his surgery, but Maccoy, being tiny and prone to illness, was always overlooked. In December 2019, a foreign doctor finally evaluated him, and he was slated for surgery in the March 2020 mission. However, the pandemic disrupted those plans.

Despite the setback, I persisted, reaching out to organizations for help. With the assistance of the Rotary Club of Cebu, Maccoy was evaluated at the National Children's Hospital, where we discovered his pulmonary arterial hypertension. The cardiologist prescribed medication to alleviate the pressure. In June 2021, we traveled to Manila for Maccoy's heart catheterization at Delos Santos Hospital. Unfortunately, the results weren't promising; his pulmonary arterial hypertension remained high, rendering him ineligible for open-heart surgery.

Refusing to lose hope, we sought another opinion in Cebu in 2022. The new cardiologist noted a decrease in pressure and encouraged us to reapply for surgery through the Rotary Club of Cebu. After applying to three hospitals, Maccoy was accepted at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao. Despite undergoing another heart catheterization, his pulmonary arterial hypertension persisted, delaying the surgery.

In April 2023, despite six months of treatment with bosentan, Maccoy's condition showed no improvement. His cardiologist reluctantly concluded that surgery was not an option and advised us to cherish the time we had with him. In June 2023, Maccoy experienced a frightening incident with his oxygen levels dropping, prompting his placement on oxygen support. Despite the challenges, I cling to faith, believing that one day, our prayers will be answered.

I have a friend whose son was eligible for a pulmonary hypertension medication trial. She suggested I contact Doc Balderas, who oversees the trial, via Viber to inquire if Maccoy could participate. However, she informed me that Maccoy wasn't eligible because he hadn't undergone surgery yet. She advised us to visit the Philippine Heart Center for an evaluation, assuring us that they had the necessary equipment and medication for a successful surgery. With faith in God, we traveled to Manila in September 2023 for Maccoy's evaluation. Doc Balderas reaffirmed that they could proceed with surgery, strengthening my belief that it was an answer to our prayers.

To secure funds for the surgery, I reached out to senators, a party list, and a foundation called GiveAsia. By March 2024, we had almost enough funds, and we returned to Manila. However, Maccoy developed a cough, delaying the surgery until after Holy Week. Finally, on April 7, 2024, Maccoy and I flew back to Manila for his admission. Despite the nerves, I felt this was the right time for Maccoy's surgery.

On April 8, Maccoy underwent his third heart catheterization. The doctor explained that the pressure might still be high, but expressed confidence in the surgical team. After the procedure, we received the news that open-heart surgery was scheduled for April 11. Overwhelmed with gratitude, I thanked the Lord for this opportunity.

On the morning of April 11, Maccoy woke up excited, expressing his trust in Jesus to watch over him during the surgery. His faith moved me to tears, reinforcing our belief in God's guidance and protection.

After months of fundraising and overcoming hurdles, Maccoy finally underwent successful open-heart surgery. The road to recovery was challenging, with Maccoy spending days in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU), but his resilience and faith never wavered. Even during his toughest moments, he remained steadfast in his belief that God was watching over him.

Today, Maccoy is thriving, his heart strong and his spirit unbroken. While he continues to manage his PAH with medication, his heart is now certified as happy and healthy. Reflecting on this journey, I'm reminded of the power of faith and perseverance, and how God's timing is always perfect. All glory and praise to Him for guiding us through this ordeal and granting Maccoy the gift of a new lease on life.

Maccoy moving up to Grade 1

1 comentario

14 may

Beautifully written sis! Jesus is so good and he loves maccoy!! His faith in his creator moves me to tears as well. I love maccoy and your family and I’m so grateful to the Lord that he gave Maccoy the happy heart he deserves and the strength you needed as his Mother the whole time, never losing hope. Love you guys and thank you for sharing ❤️

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