“I know this is for the best, but as long as there are other options, that I’m sure there will be, I don’t want to risk his life again,” Marie shared.
Carlisle's Plea For Help
On the dawn of March 31, Marie Ruth Berma was blessed with a bouncing baby boy who immediately cried after coming out of his mom’s womb, a sign that he was healthy. The handsome little boy with rosy cheeks and birthmark on his foot, was named Carlisle Von Patrick. For Marie, Carlisle was perfect.
Being a single mother was not easy but Marie tried her best to attend to her son’s needs. She would make sure that nothing would hurt or scare him, no insect would bite him and that his monthly check-ups and vaccines are always up-to-date.
Carlisle was deeply taken cared of but on his fourth month, he was rushed to the emergency room due to viral Meningitis.
“Tuwing magkakasakit siya, my heart will always break, thinking saan nanggaling ‘yung sakit niya. It pains me to see him crying out loud without knowing what the cause is,” shared Marie.
Carlisle recovered from viral Meningitis, but from then on, he started coming in and out of the hospital due to inconsistent nausea, vomiting, and frequent high fever. Series of tests were done and doctors thought that his meningitis came back, until they did a cranial ultrasound on him.
On February 2013, Carlisle was diagnosed with a brain tumor called Craniopharyngioma. According to reports, it is a benign tumor that develops near the pituitary gland and commonly affects children. But adults can have it too. It can grow to large sizes and may not cause any symptoms in the beginning. Carlisle’s tumor was already as big as a ping-pong ball located at the middle of his brain and was crushing his optic nerves. It needed to be treated before it causes more harm. The only treatment to remove this kind of brain tumor is through brain surgery or craniotomy.
In June, Carlisle underwent brain surgery that lasted for almost 12 hours. It was a success, his life was saved, but his eyesight wasn’t. The tumor caused a lot of pressure in his optic nerve that caused him to have a severe vision loss, which may or may not come back.
Right after surgery, a shunt was placed on his head to drain out the excess fluid from the brain and ease the pressure. Since then, the fluid is being aspirated by his neurosurgeons every two weeks. Only 80 percent of the tumor was removed during the craniotomy. The remaining 20 percent of the tumor is already connected to some of his endocrine glands that are important for his growth and it will cause a lot of complications if those glands get damaged. In cases like Carlisle, the tumors cannot be removed completely with surgery alone. Radiation therapy is needed to kill the remaining tumor. He was supposed to start the radiation therapy this year but his recent MRI showed that it grew unexpectedly faster. He needs to undergo another brain surgery to remove a part of the growing tumor.
“Is there any other option? Can the bi-weekly aspiration of fluid from his head be a little help to delay the surgery? Are there other medicines that I can give to him that can relieve him or stop the tumor from growing? I don’t want to risk his life again,” Marie desperately asked the doctor.
She’s completely aware that craniopharyngioma is a tumor that may come back even after surgery and radiation therapy but she never thought that it can be this fast, it has been less than a year since Carlisle’s recent brain surgery.
EVERY CENT COUNTS
Marie is doing everything she can to sustain all of her son’s medical needs. His ongoing treatments had been draining the family’s resources. Aside from her job in a call center, Marie also does freelance jobs. She has also put up an online shop to generate more funds. Despite this and the money she borrowed from banks and lenders, their funds aren’t enough. In fact, they’re continuously depleting.
Then she came across the fundraising for Coby Castillo (Hope for Coby) on Twitter and Facebook. She got in contact with Coby’s uncle, Pau Araos who gave her tips on how to get more help. Marie created the page “Even a cent counts for Carlisle Von Patrick” on Facebook and in just three days, it has managed to get 400 supporters.
Marie said there are still times when she cries and questions her son’s fate but when she thinks about all the support that they’re getting from family, friends and even strangers, it makes her feel better.
Despite everything, Carlisle is still a happy child. Like every kid, he loves to eat, sleep and play. If not for the big scar on his head from brain surgery, one wouldn’t know that he is sick or blind.
Reading Carlisle’s story is like reading my own story. I also have a tumor in my brain and fortunately, it’s been stable for eight years now. Like Carlisle, this tumor caused me to lose one of my five senses too; I became deaf. Like him, I have a shunt in my head as well because I was starting to develop hydrocephalus in 2005. What pains me about Carlisle is the fact that he’s so young. Kids shouldn’t go through that experience, but as they say, that’s life.
In situations like this, every cent really do count and they need all the support they can get. Like Carlisle’s page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HelpForCarlisle. Donate via GoFundMe (http://www.gofundme.com/CarlisleVonPatrick), PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org) or bank deposit (BPI #0489653699 or BDO #005000045298 under Marie Ruth C. Berma). You can call Marie at 0939-8836164. Spread the word about Carlisle and include him in your prayers. There are so many ways to help and each one, no matter how small, can make a big difference in Carlisle’s life.