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  • Wendy Valdez Happy About No-Surgery Option for Son With Spina Bifida

    The former Pinoy Big Brother housemate gives the latest health update on Seth
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
Wendy Valdez Happy About No-Surgery Option for Son With Spina Bifida
PHOTO BY @wendyvaldez_garcia/Instagram
  • “No more hip surgery for Seth.” 

    This is what former Kapamilya actress Wendy Valdez Garcia wrote to update her followers regarding the health status of her two-year-old son Seth, who was born with spina bifida, a neural tube defect — in other words, a condition that affects the spine.

    It was in June 2017 when Wendy unexpectedly went into labor and gave birth to her first child, Seth, who had to undergo surgery right away to remove the cyst at the bottom of his spine. The procedure was successful, and Wendy and her husband Norman Garcia were finally able to hold their child after a few days. However, despite the surgery, the outlook for Seth’s condition hasn’t been great.

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    Though the cause of spina bifida is still unknown, taking folic acid during pregnancy is said to help lower a woman’s risks of giving birth to a child with neural tube defects. However, it does not prevent it altogether — Wendy took folic acid while pregnant.

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    “What we heard were consistent. Your child needs operation. Since its sacral spina bifida, it may affect his bladder, his bowel movement, and worst he may never walk. His brain may be pulled down by the cyst and may make him autistic or have his brain affected, or have hydrocephalus. If he can’t be operated, he may have infection that can cause him to have cerebral palsy,” Wendy wrote on Instagram on June 8, 2017.

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    On Seth's second month, he had to wear a harness to align his hips, and then wore braces after that. 

    A year later, on the occasion of Seth’s 1st birthday, Wendy happily reported that although his son had mild hydrocephalus, he was making progress in other areas. 

    “His hips are finally in the right position after almost a year in braces, and his clubfoot is somehow corrected…” she wrote. 

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    Three months from that last post, Wendy shared that Seth’s leg brace had been removed — yet another sign that Seth is getting better.

    “Last week, he finally got a rest from wearing his hip brace. After 4 months in a harness and 7 months in a brace. Night time nya nalang daw isusuot ang hip brace nya, sa araw pwede nang wala. If the hips would hold up during the 2 week observation of not wearing the brace at daytime, pwede na sya ulit mag therapy.

    “We are praying na hindi na maaalis ang right hip nya sa tamang posisyon, para tuloy tuloy na syang hindi gagamit ng hip brace. Seth was super excited to reunite with his feet,” she captioned a photo of Seth.

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    However, their jubilation didn’t last long because come November 2018, after some tests, they were told that Seth’s hips were out again, which happens when he moves his legs. The doctors told them they could opt for spica casting, where “Seth’s legs would be cemented in place for 3 months, so he won’t be able to move until the hip would build strong ligaments to hold it.”

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    They decided to follow the doctor’s recommendation that Seth undergo surgery, and began to prepare for that eventuality.

    In February 2019, a day before Seth’s scheduled surgery, the little boy had two seizures in one day that Wendy and her husband decided to postpone the surgery until Seth got better.

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    Seven days ago, Wendy posted the latest on Seth on Instagram. 

    “After 3 attempts, which would always lead to him being sick just before the scheduled operations; we figured that perhaps, this is not the route we should opt for.”

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    Wendy said Seth has to wear the cast for 4 months, and that the doctors instructed that the cast be removed at once when a seizure attack happens. Since it didn’t seem feasible for them to remove the cast immediately in the event of a seizure attack, and “we can’t be sure that Seth would not have any seizures for 4 straight months, we asked for another opinion.”

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    The doctors from the University of Santo Tomas Hospital gave them something to be hopeful about. 

    “This time, we were told that his hip bones were not the problem, but the ligaments/muscle holding them. Even if the hip joints were held in place; without the muscle developing around it, it would not be held in place. Thus, no more hip surgery for Seth.

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    “The next option for his hips are therapy, hoping for the muscles to develop somehow, and new leg braces that will hold his whole leg and hip in place. Braces on the 5th photo of this post. This brace would help him stand too. Seeing him stand for the first time, with support, made me a bit emotional.”

    Currently, Seth continues to do therapy for as long as his body can take it. However, because he has a low immune system, Seth can easily get tired and get sick. On his 2nd birthday two weeks ago, their family was barely able to celebrate because Seth was feverish.

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    Wendy ended her health update on Seth with a message of thanks, and a request for more prayers for her child. 

    “We are grateful for the abounding grace that the Lord gives us, to be able to go through another year with our Seth.

    “We need more prayers for his immune system to be better, more strength for his therapies, and less illnesses.”

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