8th Annual Gift-giving at Philippine General Hospital on May 17

8th Annual Gift-giving at Philippine General Hospital on May 17
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Monday, June 24, 2013

KCAT CAN: My newfound brain friend

My newfound brain friend

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13”

Everyone has their own story and it’s always nice to read a book that can make you feel good, right?

I got to know Abby Manalang from my friend Lea. He is gay. Abby does not only bring joy and give advice to his friends, but he also inspires them because he is a living testimony of hope, faith and courageousness. I too was deeply moved from the time Lea introduced us and said, “Meet your newfound brain friend.”


Just like everyone else, Abby grew up a normal life. He was the 2nd of 6 siblings and despite financial difficulties; he was able to finish schooling and was able to earn a BS Accountancy degree. Right after graduating from college, he was able to land a job as a banker and earned his own money. That was when he started to go out and enjoy his life since he was so focused on studying when he was younger. But he enjoyed a bit too much that he became a heavy drinker and smoker.

It was in 2006 when his life changed drastically. Sometime in September, he wasn’t feeling well and decided to take a leave from work. But instead of taking a complete bed rest, he still went out of the house to hang out with his friends.

After eating, he excused himself to take a rest, although he couldn’t get himself to nod off because of a severe headache was feeling. He was even banging his head on the wall because of too much pain (which I have also done before because of the sharp pain I used to feel in my head). Despite the excruciating pain, he was still able to dial his mom’s phone number, but then he dropped the phone and by the time he opened his eyes, he was already at the emergency room of San Juan De Dios Hospital. That was the last thing he remembered before falling comatose.

His aneurysm ruptured and caused a brain hemorrhage. The doctor said that Abby had a survival rate of 50/50 but he was hesitant to operate on him. The result of the surgery could be his death or if ever he would survive, he’d be in a vegetable state.

His best friend, Vanessa, took the lead in all the hospital matters since his family was feeling devastated that time. She helped Abby’s family to decide what will be the best thing to do. “What will Abby do in a situation like this?” she asked. Abby has always lived with a “mind over matter” attitude, but when the time came that his mind couldn’t function, his friends and family decided to make the thinking for him and concluded, “He will definitely fight and survive.” They took the risk of putting him in surgery.

After the operation in the ICU, he still was unconscious, and on the 3rd day, the doctor told them that if Abby still doesn’t regain his consciousness within 48 hours, they will declare that he’s in coma. And a few hours after that devastating news, he suddenly woke up and asked for a glass of orange juice.

Abby was back! He was in control of his brain again, although the left side of his body was completely paralyzed.

“I felt helpless and useless and often cried at night,” recalls Abby. “But my mom encouraged me to keep on exercising to regain my strength back.”

Abby got his mother’s full support along with a lot of TLC. She patiently and diligently helped her son, walking with him everyday at five in the morning. And because of that, Abby became even more determined to get better.

“When Abby’s mind is focused on doing something, he will definitely do it. He can do it. Nothing is impossible for him,” proudly shares Vanessa.

“Even in his condition, he never failed to show his love for us, his family and friends because he is more worried that they are worrying for him. That is why he is doing his best so that we could be at ease,” shares Ivah – Abby’s colleague and friend.

Abby’s recovery was really fast that even his doctors were so amazed with his perseverance and positive attitude. In just a year, he was back to his old self. “God has plans for me. That’s why I’m still alive,” Abby shares.

“When he returned to work after a long sick leave, it was as if he never became ill. He still has the same enthusiasm, energy and sense of humor,” Ivah shares.

Abby is now back to his normal self – working as a banker, giving joy to his family and friends, and most of all, sharing this story of hope and God’s work on him.

“Nothing is impossible if we’ll believe in ourselves and in God,” Abby concludes. “Enjoy life. Be grateful. Make the most out of it. Appreciate its value.”

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. ~ Ecclesiastes 11:9

Oftentimes, our love and support is needed in order to survive and live a fruitful life. There are many different types of support – physical, financial, emotional, etc. – and a sick baby is currently in need of our financial support and our prayers.

Mikael Giron is a month old premature baby who is suffering from Respiratory Distress Syndrome (Neonatal Pneumonia). He is currently admitted at Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City, Pangasinan. If you are willing to share your love and extend your hand for support, you may contact his mother, Gladys at 09298854066.

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