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Congratulations, Raymund and Ralph!
Monday, March 31, 2008
Raymund had his recognition day last week at La Marea Academy. He was awarded a year-end award of Second Honors (general average 92-92.99). I can feel that he is not so happy with his performance this year because he was aiming for the First Honors. He then wrote me a letter saying that he will do his best next year. Whatever it is, I'm still happy and proud as a mom should be. I love you, Raymund!

grade school honor students

raymund and me

Ralph on the other hand graduated from pre-school at CSI Stadia, Lucao district, Dagupan City, also last week. He was also awarded Second Honors, something which I did not totally expect. It was a surprise to know that my little son did well in school this school year. He was also awarded Most Outstanding and Observant awards. Congratulations, Ralph! I love you very much.

Ralph with Bryan

Ralph with Mom and Dad

Ralph on stage

Ralph with AJ

Ralph with classmates

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 9:03 AM   2 comments
Music From a Flute
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
We came across a stall selling all kinds of flute at SM West while we were in Manila for the PAFP Convention last February. Since my kids love playing the piano although they don't have any formal lessons yet (I intend to enroll them this summer), my husband thought that maybe they will love this one, too. And so we bought one for a beginner. We were lucky that the store owner was there while we were inquiring, and so he thought of giving my husband a short lesson. He learned the basics pretty fast that he was able to teach the kids when we reached home.

Raymund also tried playing it using his nose.

This old man played the smallest flute I ever saw.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 10:32 AM   2 comments
Christ is Risen!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Alleluia..... Alleluia!

It is Easter, the most important celebration, the feast of all feasts! The occasion reminds us of how great God's love is for us that He sent His only Son to redeem us of our sins.

Christ, through His death, gave us Eternal Life. And because Christ is with us, we should not fear.

Happy Easter to all! From my family to yours.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 10:33 PM   4 comments
Remembering Lenten Celebrations
"Amy, it's not good to listen to the radio, or watch television, or sing out loud, or play noisily", my mom would tell me at the start of every Lenten season. That was when I was a tween or even younger. There was nothing to watch on TV anyway as every channel would go off-air during this time of the year. Nothing to listen to on the radio either. So my sister and I would just sit in one corner and whisper silly things to one another.

When I was already studying in UST, summer vacation used to start on Holy Week. And along the stretch of the long road from Manila to Pangasinan, I can only hear the singing of the Pasyon and nothing else. People would flock Catholic churches doing their private devotions in the morning and ceremonies were usually held in the afternoons.

Just to be able to occupy a seat, my family and I used to go to church early to attend the church ceremonies. If we go on a later time, we will surely have difficulty entering the church premises as the place would be jampacked with people from all sorts of life. Some of them you don't even know as there would be lots of visitors from other places, and people from the barrios who seldom hear mass regularly make it a point to attend the Lenten celebration. The place would be very hot.

As part of the sacrifice, we were not allowed to eat meat (Fasting and Abstinence). So mom would see to it that there would be enough fish in the freezer to last until Easter, at which time we would feast, with plenty of food on the table.

These traditions that we learned from our parents, me and my husband try to impart to our children. At home it is the same as what we do back then. We try to ask the kids to do their own little sacrifices just so they would know the meaning of what we are doing.

But personally I think very few people nowadays know the real meaning of all these celebrations. Stores are still open even on Good Friday, fasting and abstinence are no longer observed by most, and fewer people go to church. Most of them are in the beach and resorts having their grand vacation. One Catholic priest openly said during the Palm Sunday mass that these days are non-working days because we have our holy obligation to fulfill.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 9:51 AM   0 comments
The Agony of Waiting
Friday, March 21, 2008
For the past several years, I was always the patient inside the operating room, having been operated on two caesarean sections and one discectomy and herniectomy (procedures done on my herniated disc). I was never on the other side of the fence: the relative waiting outside the operating room. Not until my sister had her uterus, an ovary, and a fallopian tube removed (total abdominal hysterectomy and unilateral salphingo oophorectomy) last week. When I asked her if she wanted me inside, she declined. She insisted that I wait outside with our mother.

History: Her multiple myomas appeared more than ten years ago. She had already undergone myomectomy (removal of myomas) at that time but they reappeared again after several years. Being busy in the corporate world, she ignored to follow up her condition until she started experiencing heavy monthly flows. She then learned that new growths had appeared.

Aware of her condition, she managed to go on with life as if nothing is wrong with her, with me and our mom pressuring her to undergo regular medical follow ups. After eight years, she finally agreed to undergo operation. She was set to be operated on but with no definite date yet because she find it difficult to leave her work temporarily. Until she had profuse bleeding last week which finally made her realize that there is no more turning back.

She lives in Quezon City with my mom while I stay here in Pangasinan with my family. I had to travel four hours to bring her to the hospital for admission. I had to stay with her during her hospital days. I had to see to it that my mom will not worry too much, that everything will be fine.

The waiting: They brought her in at 12:00 noon. Seven hours later she was still inside. I can see the anxious face of my mom. She is terribly worried. There is nothing I can do to make her feel comfortable. She won't even allow me to part from her even for a minute. The time is ticking, soon there will be just us in the waiting area. What is happening inside? Is she okay? Why haven't they called us yet?

Finally, at past 7PM, my sister's name was called. The doctor said she is okay. That's when I heard my mom sigh. I saw her relieved though we have to wait three hours more before they bring her in her room.

Such is the difficulty of waiting. Sometimes it's better to be the one waited for.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 8:49 AM   6 comments
Finally, It's Vacation Time
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Yes, I'm really excited. Finally, I will be able to set aside my tutorial job (I tutor my kids) during the summer break. Well, on second thought, not quite really. Ralph will be on grade 1 next school year and I'm thinking of giving him a jump start for next school year just to make him ready. But it will not be in school. I plan of giving it to him at home with me as his teacher. This will make it more comfortable for him because he will not leave the house and we will do it during our convenient time. What do you think?

Just recently my aunt, Sister Connie, a Franciscan nun who is a principal in one of the Catholic schools run by their order, visited us. Since my concern is whether there is really a need for Ralph to go to summer classes to prepare him for 1st Grade, I asked her opinion. I'm glad that we are on the same thinking: that summer is a time for kids to relax, play, enjoy and have fun. This will make them more prepared mentally and emotionally for the next school year.

Since my kids love to go swimming, surely we will do a lot of this. And because they are at home in most times playing play station, computer games, also net surfing, watching DVDs and television, we'll be staying late in most evenings. Surely this will result to higher electric bills! But since the driver will be on a vacation, each of the maids will be having their own scheduled vacations, everything will compensate.

Well, I think the most enjoyable part for me is being able to man the kitchen. Finally, I can try the recipes that I longed to serve to my family but was not able to find time.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 11:47 AM   0 comments
A Night Full of Memories
Friday, March 07, 2008
That was the title of one of the activities of the LRI (a division of Unilab) people held in Hyatt Hotel and Casino during the PAFP convention. It was so different from the usual activities because there was no scientific lecture given during dinner. It was sort of a mini concert with a beautiful singer in the person of Stephanie, and a very good pianist. They were playing excellent music together while we, doctors, were having our sumptuous dinner.

In the middle of the occasion, one of the LRI staff, Mr. Mierto, decided to join Stephanie on stage. Their voices sounded so good together.The doctors took turns asking for songs that they wanted to hear from the two, while food and drinks continued to flow. Time passed by so swiftly until we came to the end of the activity which was a raffle draw. They raffled underwater Kodak cameras for consolation prizes and a Sony Digicam for the major prize. It was such a lovely evening.What could be more memorable than that? Thanks LRI family!


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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 6:15 PM   0 comments
My Sister and her Myomas
My one and only sister is not so fortunate healthwise especially when it comes to her reproductive system. For one, she did not have a chance to get pregnant. After one miscarriage, she had not gotten pregnant again. And after exhausting every means, she and her husband had finally given up all artificial means. But they continued to hope that one day they can have their own.

Prior to undergoing all means to be fertile and to conceive, she already had several myomas and an ovarian cyst, and she had all these removed. On top of all these is her adenomyosis which makes everything more complicated. She would experience tremendous pain whenever she is having her monthly period.

Several months after having her myomas removed, new growths appeared. Again she was advised an operation, something which will give no more room for another pregnancy. It took us some years to convince her to undergo such an operation. It is not easy considering her past and the consequences.

Until recently, I received a text message from her saying that she is bleeding profusely. This means that she can no longer postpone the procedure. Whether she likes it or not, she have to go under the knife.

Finally she will summon to the operation, a procedure which will totally remove her uterus, ovaries, and tubes. Something which will permanently prevent her from fulfilling her dream to have her own child. As a sister, I feel her pain.

Millions of women are like her, not lucky enough to conceive, but have the extreme desire to experience one. On the other hand, lots of women were given the chance but failed to perform their task as mothers, or never wanted to be mothers at all. How ironic, isn't it?

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 2:49 PM   0 comments
PAFP Convention: Global Warming and its Bad Effects
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The Philippine Academy of Family Physicians, Inc. (PAFP) celebrated its 47th anniversary and annual convention on February 21 to 23 this year. As compared to past conventions, the attendance of delegates went down, evidence of increase migration of doctors to greener pastures.

One of the lectures which really caught my attention was all about the environment, entitled The Ill Effects of Global Warming. It was not really my kind of topic but since the other lecture rooms were so jampacked, there was really no choice but to enter this room in order to be seated. I am just so happy I was lead to this room for I learned the latest happenings in our environment.

The Philippines has yet no study on this topic as our leaders are more bent on local issues rather than making environmental programs for the improvement of our environment and prevent these ill effects which, according to our speaker, accelerated for several years as what had been predicted.

One of the most alarming issue is that the arctic ice cap is fast melting leading to increase water levels on different parts of the earth. There is fear that most islands will be lost as an effect and it is feared that Maldives Island will be one of these. If only I have a copy of the pictures shown to us then I would have posted it in this blog as I am so alarmed with this topic. The recent floods in different parts of the Philippines might be due to this climate change, we still don't know. My in-laws are still living in Catanduanes, an island in the eastern part of Bicol peninsula, a beautiful island, rich in aquatic and natural resources but very vulnerable to storms. Just recently they experienced non-stop rains even without storms leading to floods which caused them to use small boats just to move about in their little community. So very unusual, according to them.

Experts also predicted more health related illnesses. This is more on respiratory diseases because of particulate matters trapped in the airway as a result of worsening air conditions, depressed immune response, may also be due to appearance of new bacterial growth.

Terrestial changes also increases risk of infectious diseases because of new geographic activity of disease carrying animals, insects, and other infectious parasites. Marine ecology will also be altered, increasing the incidence of cholera and food poisoning, results of new algal growths which are predicted to be more toxic. With all these health problems, there will be increase in incidence of vector-borne, water-borne, and food-borne diseases. What then will be left of us if we don't adress the problem now?

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 8:33 AM   0 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
See my complete profile
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