I recently accompanied my youngest son to his comprehensive health check-up at Ted R. Montoya Hemophilia Treatment Program and Center. Located in Albuquerque and affiliated with the University of New Mexico Hospital System, the center is our primary hemophilia treatment center.

“MacDonald the Younger” started seeing the responsible hematologist at the age of 6 months. He is now 15 years old and has years of experience with the same group of doctors and nurses. The medical team continue to assist in the physical and emotional development of my smelly boy from infant to adolescent. Such familiarity helps provide rich advice to our family.

As my son and I were waiting for our hematologist, Dr Shirley Abraham, to enter our room, we began to discuss our history with the treatment center and his medical history. We discussed the progress of his bleeding disorder and the challenges we encountered along the way. We talked about the incredible medical advancements he experienced and how manageable hemophilia is now compared to the early days. He reminded me of the seven port-a-cath implanted in various parts of his torso and how the first six did not work effectively.

Finally, he asked, “Daddy, how many surgeries have I had? “

I replied, “At least 14 operations. One to put in a port, and another to remove it from your body.

We discussed her struggle to overcome her fear of needles and difficulty brewing. factor VIII by accessing the port-a-cath with a 1.5 inch long needle. We talked about how he found a way to overcome fear by extending his thumb towards the ceiling when he was ready to begin the infusion process. We discussed the many vacations we celebrated while in hospital and how we survived the worst of circumstances.

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It was fascinating to hear his memories of the past and how he dealt with the difficult times when episodes of bleeding occurred, leaving him unable to walk. I have learned that his inner strength is tremendous as he continues to weather any storm.

I have found that my son and I appreciate each other. We respect each other’s ability to find the best in all circumstances. I reiterate that we must maintain an attitude of gratitude as we continue our journey through the different terrains that we experience in life. Some days it’s harder to find the good that life has to offer, but that doesn’t mean we stop trying to find hope in all circumstances.

When Dr Abraham walked into the room where my son and I were waiting, everything immediately felt familiar and happy. She told about my son’s medical progress and asked him about hemophilia issues. He explained that he suffered from pain in his right knee and ankle due to damage from previous continuous bleeding episodes. In response, Dr Abraham recommended that he take Celebrex (celecoxib) for pain relief.

My boy thanked her for helping him find a solution to his problem and shared with her that he had had an extremely difficult school year due to COVID-19, and was looking forward to attending his second year in person and not on a Zoom video.

After meeting all of his medical needs, my smelly boy and I left the room. I felt incredibly grateful for the relationship we have established with our medical team, forged over many years of working towards the same goal: the happiness of my son.

We often take for granted the people who come into our lives and choose to travel with us. So are the faculty and staff of the Ted R. Montoya Hemophilia Program. I walked away thanking the team, knowing that with every step my son takes, a brilliant medical team is committed to walking alongside him all the way. And, of course, her mom and dad offer a smile filled with hope and blessings for a beautiful life of endless possibilities.


To note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a disease news and information site. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a health problem. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional and do not delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to stimulate discussion on issues relating to haemophilia.

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