23 September 2008

Prayer, Faith and Recovery

Vincent with his mother, Connie left, and Cora, right. Between them are John Vailoces and his cousin Olga Villa. The photo was taken at Ronald Reagan National Airport, Washington DC on 19 September.

I have known the Viado Family in Cebu City since the 1980s. I met Cora through the Teresian Association (Institución Teresiana) of which she is a member. She has been in Japan for some years now. When we began Faith and Light in Cebu towards the end of 1991 – see my post -Cora’s family were very much involved, since her youngest brother, Vincent, has Down syndrome (Trisomy 21).

The F&L community in Cebu didn’t last very long, partly because those who organized it moved away from there. We held one or two community celebrations in the home of the Viado Family.

Vincent got a job as a teacher’s assistant in a school for special children in Cebu. He had a horrific experience in the USA very recently but, thank God, has come through it. The prayers of many have helped. I’ll let three emails from Cora tell the story. They are a wonderful testimony of faith.

Prayers for my youngest brother Vincent

29 August 2008

Dear friends,

I would like to ask you to pray for my youngest brother, Vincent. He has been diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/TEN, a rare drug-induced allergic reaction, He has been taking an anti-gout medication (Allopurinol) for about 3 weeks and, it seems, that has caused this allergic reaction.

Vincent is in the ICU of the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. We were visiting Washington with Mama and Lucy and her family when he was admitted last Thursday night.

Lucy is back in New York. Manong Nardy has come from LA and will be staying for a couple of days. Ramy and his wife May are driving from Texas and will arrive this afternoon. I will be able to stay until I leave for Japan on Sept.19 and Peter, who is in LA right now, will come to be with Mama and Vincent. Thank God, we are a big family!

Vincent is sedated because he is on a respirator, although the doctors say that he is breathing normally. His vital signs are okay, thank God. He responds to us by slightly nodding or shaking his head, can also squeeze his hand a little and wiggle his toes.

The doctors are now looking for a Burn Center in Washington where we can transfer Vincent. The inflammation is all over his body and looks like it has 1st degree burns. Some parts are even starting to peel off.

We are allowed to stay inside the ICU and talk to him. One of us can also sleep in the room with him.

We are placing Vincent in the loving hands of God and trust in His Divine Will for Vincent. The doctors and medical team are doing their best, but we know God knows what's best for Vincent. We are praying for a miracle - that Vincent will recover, God willing.

May the Lord grant us the grace to live this experience with hope and trust in Him. Take care and God bless.

United in prayers,

Vincent.s Recovery
13 September 2008
Dearest everyone,Praise the Lord! Vincent is slowly recovering and will be transferred from the ICU to a step down burn unit as soon as a room is available. The respirator and feeding tubes were removed last Thursday, Sept.4, after 10 days. A wonderful belated birthday gift for me. He has been able to drink water and eat soft food since and can speak too. His skin looks much better and the swelling has stopped.

Since last week, his torso, arms and legs were wrapped in bandages and it took two hours to change the dressings and clean him every day. However, today only his wrists and hands and the portion below his knees up to his toes were in bandages and the nurse said that it took only one hour to change the dressings and to clean him.

Another beautiful gift from the Lord is an encounter with an 86-year old spanish nun of the Carmelitas de la Caridad de Vedruna, Sr.Manuela Vencela, who is a volunteer in the department of spiritual care in the Washington Hospital Center where Vincent is confined. When I told her I am a member of the TA she was so happy because her sister, Ma. del Carmen who passed away in 1978 in Guadix, was also a TA member. Sr.Manuela said that she and her sisters were educated in our schools (Jaen, Cordoba and Sevilla) and that she knew Fr. Poveda (San Pedro Poveda, founder of the Teresian Association) and Josefa Segovia. She even said that Josefa Segovia was there when she was born! Wow!!! Sr.Manuela showed me the letter of Angeles Galino to all TA members re the death of Ma.del Carmen, as well as other reports and commentaries about her.

Mama and I are really happy to be able to attend daily Mass in the hospital chapel (Sunday-Friday 12 noon). The hospital is near the Catholic University of America and the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. We pass the basilica from the train station to the hospital every day. We are staying in the house of the brother-in-law of Philip's classmate in high school. He is also a Filipino and is a pastor of the River of Life Church, a Christian group. His youngest son who is a college student and a border are living with him. We are using his daughter's room.

My apologies for the delayed update. Mama and I leave for the hospital at 9:30am and come back at around 6pm. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes one way.I will leave on Friday next week, Sept.19. Peter will come from LA on Sept.17 to accompany Mama. I'll arrive in Japan on the 21st and my classes start on the 24th.Let us praise the Lord for the recovery of Vincent and continue to pray for him still. Thank you so much for all your prayers. Take care and God bless.

Love and prayers,Cora

Praise the Lord!
23 September 2008

Nagoya, Japan

Dear friends,Praise the Lord! Vincent was discharged from the Washington Hospital Center last Wednesday, Sept.17 and Mama and I were able to bring him to Los Angeles two days later, Friday, Sept.19. Vincent was transferred from the Medical ICU on Friday, Sept.12 and we didn't know when he would be discharged until Tuesday morning. He is still on steroids for the next three weeks, although it is being tapered down (3x a day for the first 7 days, then twice a day for the next 7 days, and finally only once a day for another 7 days). This is the only medication he is taking. Aquaphor ointment has to applied all over his body three times a day to keep his new skin moist. He also has to avoid direct sunlight and use sunblock whenever he goes out.

Vincent was first diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/ Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (SJS/TEN) and later Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS). The drug involved is the anti-inflammatory Allopurinol he as taking for his gout. He had been taking it for about a month before he was taken to the ER on Aug.21 on our first day in Washington, D.C. He was in the ICU for three weeks and on a ventilator and feeding tube for ten days. With God's grace, your prayers and the expertise of the medical staff, Vincent has survived and is recuperating at my eldest brother Nardy's place in Los Angeles. Mama is also with him and both of them will stay in the US until January.

Vincent can walk slowly, although it is still difficult for him to climb up and go down the stairs. He had been lying down for almost a month and his knees are still a little weak. My family and I would like to thank you for your prayers and support. These have been a great source of consolation and support to all of us. The Lord has blessed us with His peace and we have lived this experience with hope and trust in His Providence and care.God bless you always.

With prayers,


P.S. I am back in Nagoya and will start my classes for the second semester tomorrow.

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