Social networking that actually pays you!

If you like social networking sites like friendster, myspace, multiply, etc, here's a way to earn a little something from doing something similar.

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So, turn up your volume and watch this: http://r.yuwie.com/ethanmama so that you can understand it more!

Bloggerwave -- get paid for blogging!

With a full schedule of being a doctor part time and a mommy full time, there is not really enough opportunities for to earn extra money. I’ve finally found the perfect way. Bloggerwave is currently looking for bloggers who want to earn a little extra money. Since I’ve found blogging to be a fun way to spend my time and share my experiences, I am delighted that I would be able to make some money out of it! It’s easy, doesn’t take too much of my time, and I can do it wherever I can get an internet connection! Pretty neat!


Bloggerwave

Schooltime!

We brought Ethan to school yesterday! :)

Actually, it was just Sunday school at my mom's temple. We are still dilly dallying whether or not to enroll him in toddler school, so that would serve the purpose of his socializing with other kids his age :).

Considering that it was first day, he did quite fine. His dad, his grandma, yaya and I were with him. Talk about being OA! :) He cried a bit only when he's bored...he laughed happily when the older kids did the action song, and he let his yaya color his project :). Pwede na!

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This policy is valid from 22 October 2007

The contents on this blog are original works by the author. Quotes and pictures from other sources will be properly credited.

I may accept a fee for some of my works, but rest assured that these would not affect my personal opinions.

Negative skin test!

We brought Ethan to his allergologist for a skin test. And it was now negative for milk and wheat! Yey! Now we can let him eat foods with dairy products (milk, cheese, cake, ice cream, etc.) and wheat (bread, biscuits, some cereals, hamburger etc.)

Backgrounder: When he was about 6 months old, he had a bad skin reaction to his formula. That was when my mother was complaining that he was not gaining weight fast (you know how the older generation thinks -- the fatter, the better, at least to Asians.). The pediatrician, who was actually a breastfeeding advocate and has been very supportive so far, conceded and gave us a higher calorie formula (Neosure) to supplement. Being a very pressured first time mom, I buckled down and tried to give Ethan the formula. He didn't like the taste. While I was away, the yaya was able to let him take a bit of the formula. But he broke out in hives. That's when we knew that he had an allergy.

His pediatrician referred us to an a allergologist. She did a skin test of the known allergens to his back. He was around 7 months old then. The results were positive for cow's milk and wheat.

These allergies can usually be outgrown. Traditional practices dictate that the child be introduced small amounts of the "allergen" -- "para masanay", loosely meaning so that his system will get used to the allergen and hopefully will not react as badly next time.

However, our allergologist says that current studies for allergies in babies show that it's best to totally eradicate the offending food from his diet until he's two years old, so that his immune system will become more mature and "forget" about his sensitivity to that particular allergen. This way, it will be faster and easier for the child to outgrow his allergy. That means that we have to carefully screen each food item to make sure it did not contain any milk or wheat. We became avid label readers for Ethan's foods.

After two years of avoiding the offending foods, he finally had negative skin tests!

It's easier to control the child's diet when he is still very young and the adults are preparing all his food for him. When he grows up and goes to school, it won't be as easy to control what he eats. Kawawa naman siya by then.

Another plus I experienced -- I finally have a foolproof excuse for people who chide me about exclusively breastfeeding! They won't buy the "healthier" claim because my son "looks thin" and is not as chubby as "commercial model babies". But I just say that he's allergic, and the questions taper....although I still get unsolicited suggestions like "why not try goat's milk/soy/etc?" Oh well :)

Ethan is 2!

Ethan turned 2 last September 16. We didn't have a big celebration this time around. We just had the traditional Chinese birthday misua for breakfast and invited my relatives from my father's side. In the afternoon, my in-laws came over and feasted on merienda consisting of barbecue, cheesecake (for the birthday cake), tortilla chips, birthday misua, ice cream, sapin sapin and softdrinks. My brothers were on hand to take some pictures.

Last year, the celebration was bigger. We had it at McDonald's Greenhills, with games, a mascot, balloons, lootbags, and more than a hundred guests. My brother was the photo video man and my husband's niece distributed the glimmer tattoo stickers. My son, who wasn't walking yet at that time, was sleepy throughout most of the party (because he still had 2 naps a day and that was the time for his afternoon nap).

My son was happier on his 2nd birthday celebration. I think it's because he now has a concept of "birthday", "party" and is much more sociable. If we had the McDo party this year rather than last year, we'd probably see him running around laughing like he did in our small celebration.

He's now very malikot and makulit. I thank God everyday that he is healthy and happy! My wish for him is for him to continue being the healthy and happy child that he is. He is such a blessing to our family!

The Aftermath...Counting my Blessings

Part I -- Blighted ovum
Part II -- Hydatidiform mole

I looked forward to being discharged from the hospital because my little boy is turning 2 by September 16. I was originally scheduled to be discharged either September 14 or 15 because I was still being given Methotrexate intramuscularly as prophylactic chemotherapy. Since my husband and I were both doctors, however, my gynecologist decided that I could go home on September 13. My husband could administer the last dose of chemotherapy. I could just monitor myself for any untoward symptoms. Thank goodness!

I have a new respect for patients undergoing chemotherapy. I had a 5 day cycle of low dose methotrexate. But I felt awful during that time! The nausea, vomiting, anorexia, abdominal pain...and to think that my symptoms were considered mild! I can only imagine what patients with a higher dose regimen for longer periods of time go through! Especially if their illnesses also cause a lot of discomfort in the first place!

I also had a headache, a quite severe dull headache with accompanying nape pain. I thought I was just suffering from stiff neck because I was put in bed rest for for so long. I thought I was wimpy (or maybe I am :P). I was told that it was the effect of the spinal anesthesia.

But enough of the ranting...this post should be mainly about the good things. Things that I count as blessings during this episode in my life...

I am blessed with a wonderful husband who actually said that if it comes to choice between a hysterectomy and no other kids AND my life, he'd rather that I live. That came about when there was a question if it were a choriocarcinoma or an H. mole. Thankfully, it WAS an H. mole which is benign and had a good prognosis after treatment.

I am blessed with a loving mother. For all her sternness and strict rules, she loves us unconditionally. She took care of my son while I was still in the hospital and even when I was at home resting. Since we just had a D&C and was a little bit low on funds, she lent us the cash we needed to pay for my hospitalization.

I am blessed with brothers who gave me words of encouragement, obtained the necessary blood for me and also helped take care of my little boy.

I am blessed with in-laws who understood what I went through and gave me support and encouragement. My sister-in-law also helped by staying with me at the hospital when my husband could not.

I am blessed with a little angel who shows me in his little ways his love and support. I am thankful that he has a nanny who takes good care of him so I would not have to worry too much about him.

I am blessed that I live and enjoy all the good things...which, I sometimes overlook. Sometimes it really takes a sad event to make us realize how truly blessed we are.

Part II...Hydatidiform mole

(Link to part I)

Although the situation is kinda depressing, we had to accept it. The dilatation and curettage at least gave a sort of closure...or so we thought.

After my D&C, I still continued to bleed. I still had nausea and vomiting, and I still detest the smell of garlic and other strong smelling foods. In short, I still feel like I was in my early pregnancy. Well, I just had my D&C, so my HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) was probably still high, accounting for the nausea, vomiting and anorexia. Slight vaginal bleeding or spotting is also common after undergoing D&C. My follow up 10 days after seem to be ok. There was nothing untoward noted during the transvaginal ultrasound. There was still blood, but it was not an unusual finding for a post D&C.

My OB and I both expected that the bleeding and symptoms would most likely fade away in time...But 1 month after my D&C, I was still having the same symptoms. Also, my tummy still looks pregnant. On follow up, a repeat TVS showed some cystic spaces. My OB also noted that my uterus looks a little larger than it should be. She ran a pregnancy test. Lo and behold! It was weakly positive! That's at one month post D&C. She requested for a serum B-HCG to be done at St. Luke's Medical Center. Result: 324,000! (Normal is up to 6 only.)

When the B-HCG results came out very high, she had me undergo blood tests and other lab works. She was already thinking of a trophoblastic disease, either hydatidiform mole, invasive mole or choriocarcinoma!

Since the ultrasound in my OB's clinic is low resolution, she asked me to have a higher resolution ultrasound with doppler at PGH. Results of this ultrasound leaned more towards a hydatidiform mole rather than a choriocarcinoma. Whew! However, unless we had a biopsy, we can't be totally sure yet.

With all the results in hand, we went to see a trophoblastic disease specialist. She was referred to us by our original obstetrician. She confirmed that I was suffering from a trophoblastic disease. Since it looked more of hydatidiform mole rather than the more malignant (but still very highly curable choriocarcinoma), battle plan would be to do a suction curettage to remove the mass. Since the level of my serum beta HCG was very high, she also deemed it prudent for me to have prophylactic chemotherapy.

My husband and I went to PGH on the morning of September 9, 2007, hoping to get a private room. None were available except for the ward. We opted to wait. I really wanted privacy and am willing to wait and pay a higher price for it, but more importantly, I had to be isolated since I will be undergoing chemotherapy and my immunity will be compromised with the drugs. We had to go home first. We just called and grabbed the first room that was available. Good thing it was a Sunday and there was not much traffic.

That evening, laminaria was inserted in my cervix to help it dilate and prepare it for the suction curettage. I was then put on complete bed rest with NO bathroom privileges--had to use the bedpan. I was totally dependent on my husband's assistance in everything because I was not supposed to leave the bed. I also had my brother pick up 2 units of type A+ blood from Children's Medical Center. My family all had type O (except for my late father and my toddler son) so they can't donate to me, and for some reason it was so hard to find type A blood! Some hospitals had more type AB than type A! Imagine, I even called up the Philippine National Red Cross and they also ran out of type A!

It took more than 24 hours for my cervix to dilate to the point that it was deemed necessary for the suction tip to be inserted. Just lying in bed for that period of time was definitely boring. Good thing there was cable TV. :) Oh, and since I had to be prepared to go into surgery anytime, I was only allowed light meals after an examination would show that cervix was not yet okay, then nothing by mouth after the light meal. While waiting, I was already started on the first dose of chemotherapy (which was supposed to be for 5 days) injected intramuscularly. I was also hooked to the IV since I won't be eating much while waiting.

Finally! On the morning of September 11, 2007, I was ready to undergo the procedure. Since PGH is a high volume hospital, though, I had to wait a while because the delivery rooms were all occupied. September is really a peak month for new babies. :) Well, they started blood transfusion already while I was waiting since we're expecting blood loss from the procedure.

Once there was a vacancy, I was brought to one of the delivery rooms. Spinal anesthesia was administered, I was then put in the lithotomy position (like a mom about to give birth), prepped and draped.

For about the first hour and a half of the procedure, I was awake. My gynecologist and the other doctors in the room (I include myself here) had a scare moment when she did not seem to get any tissue that looked like the grapelike cysts found in hydatidiform mole. She had some tissue sent to the pathology lab for frozen section. That's because she was thinking that it might be choriocarcinoma! Yikes! If that happens, we can't go on with the curettage coz we have a different treatment plan if that is the case! Good thing the path results came out as placental fragments. No malignant cells. Whew!

Because she had difficulty with my case, she called in a sonologist to help out. Turns out that my case was a partial mole and not a complete one, and the characteristic grapelike cysts were facing AWAY from the cervix. What's facing the cervix was the smooth portion of placental tissue. No wonder! There was some technical difficulty in removing the whole thing because of this, hence the surgery took longer than expected. They finally had to knock me out since the spinal was starting to lose its effect and I am starting to feel something.

Next thing I knew, I was already in the recovery room with A LOT of other patients. I was still high from the sedatives and was seeing things move around in circles and psychedelic patterns. I vomited. I was cold. I was in a bad temper and like a spoiled child, kept asking when I could go out to my own room.

Finally, I was brought to my room. I had a moderate fever, probably because of dehydration. It went away as soon as I was able to drink a substantial amount of fluids and the IV fluids were increased. I was given antibiotics as a precaution though.

I was given the needed doses of chemotherapy the next few days. I went home on the evening of September 13, 2007.

More info on Hydatidiform mole here.

The aftermath in the next post!